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Asghar Farhadi Says Iran Can Withdraw ‘A Hero’ from Oscars in Scathing Anti-Government Post

Farhadi's latest Cannes-winning drama is Iran's official Oscar entry for the 2022 Academy Awards.

Asghar Farhadi seen during the closing ceremony of the 74th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, on 17 July 2021. Photo by: Boesl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Asghar Farhadi

Boesl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Asghar Farhadi has issued a scathing takedown of the Iranian government in an open letter posted Tuesday, November 17 to his Instagram account. The filmmaker was responding to an unnamed person who stated he was “pro-government” and “anti-government” at the same time. Farhadi rejects the notion he is “pro-government,” and listed out various reasons why.

“How can you associate me with a government whose extremist media has spared no effort to destroy, marginalize, and stigmatize me in past years?” Farhadi writes (via Vulture translation). “A government to which I have made my views clear on the suffering it has caused over the years — from the events of January 2017 and November 2019, to the bitter and unforgivable tragedy that caused the murder of the Ukrainian plane passengers, from the cruel discrimination against women and girls to the way the country has allowed coronavirus to slaughter its people.”

Farhadi’s films “A Separation” and “The Salesman” collected Best International Feature Oscars (then Best Foreign Language Film) for Iran, and he is currently back in the running with his acclaimed new film “A Hero.” The drama won the Grand Prix at Cannes and is Iran’s official Oscar entry for 2022. In his letter, Farhadi said the government should withdraw the film from Oscar consideration if the government is using such a selection to claim the director as one of its own.

“For many years, you have accused my movies of being ‘fake,’ and now it is amazing to watch you do the opposite,” Farhadi writes about the government. “If I have so far remained silent on the persecutions you have inflicted on me, it is only because I have wanted to concentrate on my work, which I truly believe in. It was never meant to be taken as a sign that I agreed with you.”

Farhadi continued, “If your introduction of my film for the Oscars has led you to the conclusion that I am in your debt, I am explicitly declaring now that I have no problem with you reversing this decision. I no longer care about the fate of the film that I made with all my heart. Whether in or outside Iran, this movie will live on its merits.”

“A Hero” will be released in U.S. theaters on January 7, followed by a streaming launch January 21 on Amazon Prime Video.

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