According to Variety, he said, “I think the matter will no doubt be cleared up. And I’m sorry it has created so much ill feeling.”
The filmmaker is currently serving as an international jury member at Cannes, alongside Deepika Padukone, Rebecca Hall, and others. Farhadi won the Grand Prix at the festival, in 2021, for A Hero.
Farhadi’s former student Azadeh Masihzadeh had accused him of taking key elements of A Hero from her documentary, All Winners, All Losers, and then failing to acknowledge the original source or give her due credits. The documentary was conceived during a film workshop in 2014 at Tehran’s Karnameh Institute, and revolves around the real-life story of an inmate in the debtors’ prison in Shiraz named Shokri.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker denied the allegations and maintained that he had independently researched the story. He also filed a defamation suit against Masihzadeh.
She was acquitted of this defamation charge a day before reports suggested that Farhadi was found guilty of copyright infringement.
A Hero’s producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy later claimed that the reports could have been a result of preliminary investigation conducted into the matter, and not the final ruling.
On Tuesday, Farhadi reiterated similar opinion, and said, “The newspaper you’re referring to talked about plagiarizing. This is not actually true and likewise the case is being studied by the religious authorities. There will be a jury to judge the case. But we don’t know when the case will be heard. It’s a very lengthy process.”
Although he admitted to have watched the documentary, and spoken to Masihzadeh, he added that “what is in the film is something quite different.”
“This documentary and my film A Hero are simply based on an event that happened two years prior to the workshop. When an event takes place and is discovered by the press, then it becomes public knowledge and you can do what you like — you can write a story or make a film about the event without one being a copy of the other,” Farhadi noted.
The film that revolves around a man looking for salvation, was also Iran’s official entry to the 2022 Oscars in the International Feature Film category. However, while the film made the shortlist in that category, it failed to find a place among the top five and earn a nomination.