When I was in elementary school, I really liked PPKn. Not because of the material, but how easy it is to get a 100 in that subject. The line between right and wrong is so clear. One of the questions that often appears on exams is, “What should you do if you find money on the street?”. Of course return it to the owner” was the answer. I used to think, if I behaved according to the answer to the PPKn question, I would live happily as a good citizen.
Unfortunately, reality is not as simple as PPKn’s replay, and Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero captures this complexity, where the definition of “doing good” is questioned. The case is the same as the question above. Rahim (Amir Jadidi), who was imprisoned for failing to pay his debts, steals public sympathy after returning a bag filled with gold coins, which he is said to have found while getting two days out of prison. Top Movie Site
His name was hailed. How come? A prisoner who is in financial trouble, chooses to act honestly, even though he has the opportunity to take gold that can be used to pay off his debt. The audience seems to agree. We know some of Rahim’s secrets before his characters, but it’s hard to get rid of the impression that despite his faults, he is indeed a good person.
Both his family and acquaintances warmly welcomed Rahim home for two days. Jadidi’s demeanor also reinforces that impression. His smile radiated humility, like a village man who suddenly had the opportunity to appear on national television. There is pride mixed with shame. But over time, along with the various turning points that Farhadi threw, Jadidi also brought ambiguity to his game.
A Hero starts like a normal drama. More specifically, Iranian dramas that we often encounter at festivals. Rahim has to deal with Bahram (Mohsen Tanabandeh) who “imprisoned him”, manages a relationship with his son (Saleh Karimai) who has a speech disorder, while secretly having an affair with his girlfriend, Nazanin (Sarina Farhadi has returned to appear in his father’s film since A Separation). Best Movie
But if you are familiar with Farhadi’s works, you will know that, even though he dwells on a similar theme, the director carries a different style than his compatriots. It’s not just a matter of time. Farhadi’s number of shots is higher, for example, than names like Jafar Panahi or Abbas Kiarostami who like static images. The result is more dynamic, as well as (somewhat) more friendly to ordinary viewers.
So it feels natural when A Hero also moves in a different direction. The further the plot rolls, the further A Hero goes from the conventional drama form. Then the more surprising facts come to light, the more difficult it is to predict its direction. But it is even more difficult to define “goodness” here.
Did Rahim really do good? Or is it just something that shouldn’t be celebrated? Is there a difference between “kindness” and “goodwill”? Does kindness lose its value if it is based on bad intentions? It gets even worse, when goodness is clashed with interests, games armed with media, and the modern culture of social media. A Hero is an illustration, how in the post-truth era like now, the meaning of goodness and truth is no longer as easy as answering PPKn exam questions.
The packaging is not all serious. Farhadi’s manuscript is full of satire, which is clever and sharp, inviting us to laugh at the silliness of the “leaders” of the post-truth era. Regarding directing, Farhadi is still good at wrapping up debates. Even the exchange of opinions that was not accompanied by shouts was able to be presented intensely. But the best direction comes in the closing shot, when it shows the line between freedom and confinement. The line looks thin, but is actually very thick. Movie Review