This beautifully observed social drama takes a simple story with clever dialogue and turns it into a complex and absorbing film. Director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman) is recognised for his ability to make realistic films showing the complexities of modern life in Iran and A Hero has already garnered plenty of awards.
Rahim Soltani (Amir Jadidi) has been given two days leave from a debtors jail where he was serving three years for being unable to repay a loan from Bahram (Moshsen Tanabandeh), his former brother-in-law, after his business was made bankrupt.
Returning to a working class suburb of Shiraz to stay with his sister-in-law he finds a handbag with a broken strap which his girlfriend Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldoost) has picked up at a bus station. It contains 17 gold coins.
They plan to sell the coins which would help to pay off the debt, and with a bit of luck Bahram would accept a bond that he would repay the rest of the money after he finished the jail term, but the coins turn out to be not as valuable as they thought – and Rahim decides to return the bag and its contents to its rightful owner.
This simple event spirals out of control and turns into an incredible problem as the media become involved with a sensationalist story of an honest man. A local charity raises money for him to repay the loan, a prison warder finds him a job, and he becomes a local celebrity, and a media sensation.
But rumours start, questions are asked about his selfless act, proofs are needed, and public opinion changes. The film unfolds slowly as each scene becomes more complicated with white lies and misunderstandings each revealing a little more truth. This movie was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 94thAcademy Awards
Farhadi’s films are about the inevitable conflicts and arguments in class, gender and religion that force the characters to reflect on the moral grounds of their decisions. But he never tells us who he thinks is right or wrong. He was listed in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2012, and has received the Legion of Honour from France.
Farsi language with English sub-titles.
Now showing at Luna Leederville.
Watch the trailer…