Being good in a dictatorship is difficult. Sometimes it takes a hero
On the tragedy of Asghar Farhadi
As the Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi might say, the real struggle isn’t good against evil; it is good against good. This is what complicates matters. I’ve been thinking about the epic New Yorker profile of Farhadi, who won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2021 for the film A Hero. If you haven’t read it yet, carve out an hour or two to savor it (it’s dark and disturbing).
To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Life, as it’s actually lived, doesn’t lend itself to pat morality plays, and neither do the accusations that Farhadi stole the idea for A Hero from his student. But it does lend itself to tragedy. Farhadi clearly did something wrong. He’s treated time and time again to second chances. All he has to do, quite literally, is say sorry. But he can’t. By failing to acknowledge his error, he compounds it, setting off a chain of consequences. And one leaves the story with the impression that it’s probably too late.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Democracy and Other Problems to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.