A moral dilemma faces Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s protagonist in his latest film “A Hero.” Rahim, played by Amir Jadidi is on a two-day leave from debtors’ prison when his girlfriend Farkhondeh (Sahir Goldoust) finds a handbag filled with gold coins. Faced with a choice, the two opt to use it to pay off some of Rahim’s debt. In the end, they return the money to its owner.
Farhadi says the subject of charting how a person can ascend very fast and descend just as fast was fascinating to him. Cinematographer Ali Ghazi was present during the film’s rehearsals. In telling Farhadi’s story visually, the key was to not create a veil between the image and the audience.
Farhadi notes, “We didn’t want the camera to inform any judgment on the audience’s thoughts whether it was framing or lighting. We wanted to invite the audience to judge the characters, not let the camera drive that emotion. The camera can make us have sympathy for one character or less sympathy for another. What we tried to do with framing was to keep it unobjective in that emotional sense.”
The director, who is vying for a slot in International Feature Film, bookends the movie with similar frames: the bus stop, the prison – in one, Rahim is leaving the prison, in the end, he is returning to prison. Farhadi says audiences tend to remember the last scenes more than the first. With that, he says, “I tried to make that scene a reminder to the audience of what they’ve already seen. In all my films, I try to make the last scenes serve as memory. So, you see the bus when the film begins, and Rahim doesn’t get it. We see it again at the end, and that entire scene is a reminder of that beginning moment,” says Farhadi.
The filmmaker notes he also doesn’t use flashbacks in his films, but his films have a feeling throughout as if that motif has been used. “What I do is use objects and this visual symmetry that we create in the film that might force the audience to go back and review it in their head.” He adds, “It exists in the narrative sense too, where there’s one central event that happens in the middle of the film and everything else revolves around that? It’s almost like being in court where events happen and they go over it to find different angles to find the truth.” In this case, it’s the media circus that examines the story from those angles that give a sense of flashback.
Read the opening and closing scenes of the film below. “A Hero” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.