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Golden Apricot Reviews: Asghar Farhadi's Hero



Golden Apricot  Reviews:  "A Hero", Iranian, 2021, directed by Asghar Farhadi

by Alex Delonian 


Asghar  is a past master of the shaggy dog story that makes mountains out of mole hills yet manages to maintain interest.  He is also very good at getting the best out of his actors. The  so-called hero of this film is Rahim Soltani who is in and out of jail on debtors charges for failure to pay off a sizable business loan still outstanding.

By profession he is a calligrapher and sign painter, but his second calling seems to be natural born con man.  He is divorced but has a faithful new paramour and a young son with a heavy stammering problem.  Good looking with a certain charm  he is generally well liked and able to convince people of his  sincerity and good intentions while scheming away a mile a minute.

While out on leave from jail for a few days he finds a purse at a bus stop containing quite a few pieces of gold.   This could be the answer to his outstanding debt problem were certain complications not to arise. The bulk of the picture  is taken  up with how our hero Rahim will deal with these complications to keep himself out of jail as more and more people are drawn into his evolving web of intrigue.  Can he risk cashing the gold in and hope the owner of the purse never shows up, or is there some other solution? ...


Rahim decides to track down the owner of the purse claiming that his conscience will not allow him to do otherwise and that his sense of honor is more  important than money.  Although it takes some doing to find the elusive purse owning lady this turns out to be a smart move on his part.  The media gets wind of this, acclaims Rahim as a shining example of honesty, and puts him on television to tell his exemplary tale.  Over night he has become a public hero and he is offered a government job to solve his financial problems.   How nice and easy it would  be if the picture ended there, but no -- this is merely the end of part one. -- just the tip of an iceberg of further complications that will turn the rest of this apparently simple story into a miasma of frustration, counter accusations, and eventually moments of violence when, in utter frustration at the way things have turned agsinst him, Rahim loses his composure and blows everything.    There is not room in this brief review  to go into all the details that ensue  as the plot twists and turns in unexpected directions.  Suffice it to say that "A Hero" received a five minute standing ovation at the Cannes première earlier this year and went on to take the Palme d'Or best film prize.  I  would  only like to add that the stuttering child plays a key role in part two, worthy of special consideration.  

With his uncanny ability to make ordinary people extraordinary and the every day commonplace uncommon  director Asghar Farhadi has established himself as the leading figure of the new Iranian cinema.  And, oh yes,  actor Amir Jadidi who plays the shifty Rahim without missing a beat was also a discovery in a canny cast of perfect supporing players.   





   Amir Jadidi as Rahim, the not so heroic hero of Asghar Farhadi's  "A Hero".

Filmography for Amir Jadidi 

Actor (19 credits)
 2021Un héros
2020Zero Day
2018La Permission
2017Ghatel-e ahli
2016Valley of Stars
Babak Hafizi, detective
2015Rokhe Divaneh
Pirooz Kianpour / Narrator
2014Koshk (Short)
2013Pish Az Tolou (Video short)
2012Maafeh daem (Short)
2010Africa (Video)


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