Writer / director Asghar Farhadi’s exceptional Iran-centric drama is a moving reflection on the morality of crime.
This film follows Rahim Soltani (Amir Jadidi), a young father incarcerated in a prison for debts for non-repayment to the lender Bahram (Mohsen Tanabandeh). During a two-day leave period, Rahim tries to concoct the sum he owes his ex-partner in exchange for his release from prison.
But when Bahram refuses his partial refund offers, Rahim embarks on increasingly elaborate ploys to raise the almost insurmountable sum. Soltani knows his freedom is on the line, as well as the care of his vulnerable young son, but can’t help but fight for his battered reputation.
Rahim and his secret fiancee Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldust) then construct an elaborate account of Rahim’s heroism in order to demand goodwill from Bahram. Thanks to social networks, Soltani becomes a popular hero. But not everything goes as planned.
In its construction, A Hero looks a bit like Uncut Gems from the Safdie brothers to Abbas Kiarostami, the seminal Iranian director whose calm observing style has evidently influenced Asghar Farhadi here. There is very little camera movement: Farhadi lets his characters play out their fears and anxieties in rooms and hallways as we sit helpless and detached. A more dynamic approach might make Rahim seem like he has the slightest control over his destiny. indeed, he is a passive observer of his own life.
Kiarostami’s fingerprints are also present in the way A Hero deals with truth and illusion. Rahim and Farkhondeh weave together so many desperate lies that they lose all sense of the truth. In another specific way, Iranian cinema appears in a similar place to American cinema of the 1970s: the actors are divided not according to their chiseled cheekbones but by the number of features on their faces. This is the truest of Jadidi, a net leading man who is almost unrecognizable here.
Having already spent three years in prison, Rahim is at the bottom of the social pile. His company turns him into an unlikely warrior in a culture war between money lenders and vulnerable borrowers whose ambitions require the trust of others. This precarious status quo evokes the work of Charles Dickens, whose father spent many times in Victorian debt prison, and even Charlie Chaplin, who gets a cameo blink and you’ll miss him.
Yet A Hero’s layered social system cannot be mistaken for any sort of political dissonance. Farhadi has always played a careful game in ensuring that his deeply authentic films are allowed in his rigid home country. Although this film was produced largely with French money, the director is still clearly interested in telling Iran-centric stories. We should be so lucky: no one does better.
Reference of the Article-post – lwlies