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A Hero

RATING
5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

Asghar Farhadi. The name is enough for all cinephiles around the world to be curious about his next directorial. If you haven’t heard about him then it us a good time to start. One of the iconic directors of world cinema with films like A Separation and The Salesman to his name, you definitely need to watch them if you are a student of Cinema. So the excitement of his next Iranian film A Hero being premiered on the OTT giant Amazon Prime had hit the roof. Unfortunately, the release was limited to the US and not available in India. So with the help of vpn, I finally got my hands to it last night. Nominated for the Academy Awards this year which already seems to be crowded with some outstanding films worldwide, does A Hero live upto the massive expectations, lets find out.

Story & Screenplay

A Hero follows the story of a debt ridden man on a two-day leave from prison, who finds a bag full of coins. He decides to return them but nothing goes as planned. A master of conflicts and the socio-economic backdrops, Asghar Farhadi has once again thrown in a story which is filled with conflicts. And as they say, with Farhadi it is the story within a story that holds more importance and something that keeps playing on long after the film is over. The story hits home beautifully. The socio-economic background is subtly tapped throughout the narrative. As we say, it is one man’s word against the other. But how often do we judge a person based on his background. The same is beautifully tackled in a masterclass in screenplay writing. The screenplay here is brilliantly layered, perhaps a new layer would be discovered each time you revisit it. It begins with a frame focussing on the fence with the protagonist in the background which depicts that the protagonist is in jail in real life too. Freedom is a very subjective term considering the socio-economic climate and that is something Farhadi wanted to showcase here.

The screenplay is filled with conflicts here. Each of the characters have their own set of conflicts here. So even an act of kindness by the protagonist is diluted to suit a particular narrative in the film. Even when the protagonist has to exert his anger, he doesn’t have a channel to express it. Instead, you see him in brawls on two separate occasions whereas there is really no personal enmity between the characters. Each agency be it the jail or the charitable trust are shown to be vulnerable and very conscious about their image. All of it culminates into a climax which is open to interpretation. The classic frame with characters seen talking to each other with only their expressions visible to the audience is typical of Farhadi. The ending moves you and stays with you as you try and absorb every ounce of the emotions in play. Truly a masterclass in screenplay writing tackling a simple story with a layered narrative.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are largely conversational which keep you engaged throughout. The non existance of BGM up until the final scene allows you to absorb the drama better without any pretence. The final score is just heartwarming and so emotional that I found my heart break to bits especially as I could visualize the little kid crying for his father. Director Asghar Farhadi as yet again delivered a masterpiece which will stay on for years to come. Each frame is given a thought here. And this could so easily have been a story of a protagonist searching for the “woman”. But this isn’t that story and therein lies the genius of Farhadi willing to stick closer to reality in what is truly a medium tailormade for him.

Performances

The performances are excellent here. Ali Ranjbari as The Taxi Driver shines in a cameo. The little kid Siavesh essayed by Saleh Karimaei is brilliant and almost a screen stealer. Maryam Shahdaei as Malileh is outstanding. Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy as Mrs. Radmehr is effortless. Sahar Goldost as Farkhondeh delivers a heartfelt performance. Mohsen Tanabandeh as Bahram is a character which might anger you which means a job very well done. And lastly the film rests on Amir Jadida who shines brilliantly as Rahim. The pain is visible in his eyes and the helplessness in his body language. He truly lives evety bit of his character and comes out on top!

Conclusion

A Hero is another Asghar Farhadi masterpiece. This is perhaps my pick in the crowded foreign language category at the Academy Awards this year! Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Recommended.

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