Asghar Farhadi

Asghar Farhadi

Born (1972-01-07) 7 January 1972[1]
Homayoon Shahr, Isfahan Province, Iran
Nationality Iranian
Alma mater Tarbiat Modares University
University of Tehran
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, film producer
Years active 1997–present
Notable work About Elly
A Separation
The Salesman (2016 film)
Spouse(s) Parisa Bakhtavar
(m. 1990)
Children Sarina

Asghar Farhadi (Persian: اصغر فرهادی, Persian pronunciation: [æsɢæɾ fæɾhɑdiː]; born 7 May 1972) is an internationally, critically acclaimed Iranian film director and screenwriter. Among many other awards, he has received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for his movie A Separation. He was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world by Time magazine in 2012.

Life and career

Farhadi was born in Homayoon Shahr (literally: "auspicious city"). After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the city was renamed Khomeyni Shahr (literally: Khomeini's city). It is located in Isfahan province near the city of Isfahan. He is a graduate of theatre, with a BA in Dramatic Arts and MA in Stage Direction from University of Tehran and Tarbiat Modares University, respectively. Farhadi made short 8mm and 16mm films in the Isfahan branch of the Iranian Young Cinema Society, before moving on to writing plays and screenplays for IRIB. He also directed such TV series as A Tale of a City and co-wrote the screenplay for Ebrahim Hatamikia’s Low Heights. Dancing in the Dust was his feature film debut,[2] which he followed with A Beautiful City.

His third film, Fireworks Wednesday, won the Gold Hugo at the 2006 Chicago International Film Festival. His fourth film, About Elly, won him the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 59th International Berlin Film Festival and also Best Picture at the Tribeca Film Festival. The latter film is about a group of Iranians who take a trip to the Iranian beaches of Caspian Sea that turns tragic. Film theorist and critic David Bordwell has called About Elly a masterpiece.[3]

His film A Separation premiered on 9 February 2011 at the 29th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran and received critical acclaim from the Iran Society of Film Critics. It won Farhadi four awards including Best Director (for the third time after Fireworks Wednesday and About Elly). On 15 February 2011, it also played in competition at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, which earned him a Golden Bear for best film, becoming the first Iranian film to win that award. In June 2011, A Separation won the Sydney Film Prize in competition with Cannes Festival's winner The Tree of Life, directed by Terrence Malick.[4]

On 19 December 2011, Farhadi was announced as being on the jury for the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, held in February 2012.[5]

On 15 January 2012, A Separation won the Golden Globe for the Best Foreign Language Film.[6]

The film was also the official Iranian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Academy Awards, where apart from getting nominated[7] in this category, it also received a nomination in the Best Original Screenplay category. On 26 February 2012, A Separation became the Great achieved success first Iranian movie from Middle East to have received an Oscar for the best foreign language film at the 84th edition of the Academy Awards. This marked Farhadi as the first Iranian to have won an Academy Award in any of the competitive categories.[8] He was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2012 along with 175 other individuals.[9] César Award for Best Foreign Film and Independent Spirit Award for Best International Film other A Separation Awards. His 2013 film The Past, starring Bérénice Bejo and Tahar Rahim, competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[10] Bejo won the Best Actress Award at Cannes for her performance in the film.[11][12] His 2016 film The Salesman, starring Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti, competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. The Salesman winner two Awards Best Actor and Best Screenplay Award for Farhadi.[13]


Social and class structures

Farhadi’s films present a microcosm of modern Iran and the inevitable complications that arise, especially when interactions cross class and gender differences. For example, his film A Separation represents such conflicts and arguments that leave the characters unable to solve their problems and even unsure about the moral grounds of their own decisions.

In her critical article, “Through the Looking Glass: Reflexive Cinema and Society in Post-Revolution Iran,” Norma Claire Moruzzi writes:

In contrast, Farhadi’s A Separation treats the life-as-elsewhere dream as one strand of a complex and multi-layered story. Farhadi’s films are nuanced portraits of the cross-cutting relations among classes, genders, and social groups. They are ambivalent explorations of the implications small personal choices can have on the delicate web of individual connections that make up any social network, carefully crafted and beautifully acted.[14]

The film critic Roger Ebert in his Movie Yearbook 2013 writes this about Farhadi's craft depicting social relations:

"The writer-director, Asghar Farhadi, tells his story with a fair and even hand. His only agenda seems to be to express empathy. A Separation provides a useful portrait of Iran today . . . [T]his film portrays a more nuanced nation, and its decent characters are trying to do the right thing" (532). "The intriguing thing about his screenplay is that it gets us deeply involved, yet never tells us who it thinks is right or wrong" (703).[15]

In the introduction to her 2014 book Asghar Farhadi: Life and Cinema, film critic Tina Hassannia writes:[16]

[Farhadi’s] social realism—observations on the culture at large driven through a documentary-like lens—is skilfully effaced by a highly refined version of the melodrama. Yet his social commentary—though bleak, sometimes damning—never feels didactic or punishing.

In Farhadi’s films such as in A Separation, we see that Iran is far from a classless society and its class system endures across the history of pre- and post-revolutionary Iran. Farhadi presents the complexities of everyday life in Iran today, especially in light of the diversity that crosses social structures such as class and gender.


Feature films

Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
2002 Low Heights No No Yes Co-written with Ebrahim Hatamikia
2003 Dancing in the Dust Yes No Yes Co-written with Alireza Bazrafshan and Mohammad Reza Fazeli
2004 The Beautiful City Yes No Yes
2006 Fireworks Wednesday Yes No Yes Co-written with Mani Haghighi
2007 Canaan No No Yes Co-written with Mani Haghighi
2008 Tambourine No No Yes
2009 Trial on the Street No No Yes Co-written with Masoud Kimiai
2009 About Elly Yes Yes Yes
2011 A Separation Yes Yes Yes
2013 The Past Yes No Yes
2016 The Salesman Yes Yes Yes


Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
1998 The Waiter Yes Yes Yes Broadcast on IRIB TV5
1998 Doctors No No Yes Broadcast on IRIB TV3
1998 Farrokh & Faraj Residental Complex Yes No No Broadcast on IRIB TV2
1999 Youth days No No Yes Broadcast on IRIB TV5
1999 Story of a City Yes Yes Yes Broadcast on IRIB TV5
2001 Story of a City II Yes Yes Yes Broadcast on IRIB TV5


Asghar Farhadi in Cannes Film Festival

See also


  1. Soureh Movie Database Archived 21 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "2011 SFF Official Competition winner is...". News. Sydney Film Festival. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  5. "Berlinale 2012: International Jury". 19 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  6. "Golden Globes: 'A Separation' wins best foreign language film". 15 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  7. ""A Separation" nominated for foreign-language film Oscar". Tehran Times. 25 January 2012.
  8. Ronald Grover. "Iran wins first Oscar with "A Separation". Reuters. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  9. "Academy Invites 176 to Membership". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  10. "2013 Official Selection". Cannes. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  11. "Cannes Film Festival: Awards 2013". Cannes. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  12. Chang, Justin (26 May 2013). "Cannes: 'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Wins Palme d' Or". Variety. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  13. Cannes Film Festival 2016: Forushande (The Salesman)
  14. Moruzzi, Norma Claire. “Through the Looking Glass: Reflexive Cinema and Society in Post-Revolution Iran”. From Iranian Cinema in a Global Context: Policy, Politics, and Form By Peter Decherney, Blake Atwood. Routledge. NY: 2015. 112-142
  15. Ebert, Roger. Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2013 (25th Anniversary Edition ed.).
  16. Tina Hassannia (2014). Asghar Farhadi: Life and Cinema. Critical Press.
  17. "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. 26 November 2012. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  18. "Cannes: 'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Wins Fipresci Prize". Variety. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.

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