Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian director, producer and screenwriter, has a superb ability when it comes to writing his stories. He also has a very precise cinematic style which makes him different from Western filmmakers. While Farhadi’s first love was theatre, he chose filmmaking as his profession. 

Farhadi has always poignantly examined the themes of love, corruption, sacrifice, and forgiveness; he truly crafts one thought-provoking masterpiece after another. A Hero, the filmmaker’s new work, is a multi-layered essay on humanity that explores the themes of learning the truth about oneself and constant exposure to society’s judgement. Farhadi gradually leads the viewer towards the contemplation of one’s duty, the condition of Iranian society, and the prison system in the country. 

Image © Courtesy of London Film Festival 

Shiraz, Iran. Rahim (Amir Jadidi: Zero Day) is in prison for unpaid debt to his former brother-in-law, Bahram (Mohsen Tanabandeh: Rona, Azim’s Mother). The protagonist is let out for 48 hours during which he gets a chance to sort his debts out. After leaving the prison, Rahim meets with his girlfriend, Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldust), whose recent discovery of a handbag, containing 17 golden coins, might help him to pay the money back. Rahim is tempted for a moment, but he finally decides to return the bag to its owner. At that moment, an avalanche of unfortunate events began. The prison’s director strongly encourages Rahim to appear on TV, in addition, a local charity decides to start a fundraiser to cover the man’s debt. Rahim becomes a local celebrity until one little white lie is twisted into the truth. And in a society where social media often rules one’s life, his whole world is turned upside down. 

Image © Courtesy of London Film Festival 

Farhadi yet again makes his audience question the protagonist’s motivations. In A Hero, we question the reasons behind Rahim and Farkhondeh’s behaviours. Their morals tend to clash; while Rahim wants to do a good deed by returning the handbag, Farkhondeh takes a more immoral stance, wanting to use the found coins. The collective-discussion scenes are the director’s hallmark; the ongoing conversations turn into quarrels, regrets and grievances. They are also overwhelmed with pain and bitterness. 

Although Rahim is the protagonist, there is one more character that draws the audience’s attention. It’s Rahim’s son, a silent hero, a boy who stutters and lacks confidence. The young boy’s character does not appear in the film often, but his persona and actions will try to trick the viewer’s opinion on whose side to take, Rahim or Bahram’s? 

Image © Courtesy of London Film Festival 

A Hero is a clever and very well-crafted film. Farhadi delves into his characters’ minds and meticulously analyses their motivation. Devoid of a musical layer and wide shots, Farhadi effortlessly drifts between the dusty streets of the city, small apartments, and prison rooms, creating a feeling of claustrophobia at times. With a powerful performance by Amir Jadidi, A Hero proves that no one can shoot a contemporary drama as good as Asghar Farhadi. 

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Written by Maggie Gogler

View of the Arts is a British online publication that chiefly deals with films, music, arts, and fashion, with an emphasis on the Asian entertainment industry. We are hoping our audience will grow with us as we begin to explore new platforms such as K-pop, and continue to dive into the talented and ever-growing scene of film, arts and fashion, worldwide.

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About View of the Arts

View of the Arts is run by female arts journalists and works with a diverse team of writers and film critics.

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BFI London Film Festival, Film, Film events and festivals, Foreign Films

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