Edition 2023

Asghar Farhadi’s Biography

Asghar Farhadi, President of the jury of the 15th edition of Les Arcs Film Festival !

Asghar Farhadi was born in 1972. He directed his first short film at the age of 13, as he was a part of the Youth Cinema Society, followed by five more before going to college. He then joined Tehran University in 1991 to study theater, a choice which significantly influenced his approach to filmmaking. He wrote his thesis on Harold Pinter and on the importance of silence and pauses in the playwright’s work. After obtaining his degree, he pursued an MA in stage direction at Tarbiat Modares University in 1996. Simultaneously, Farhadi started writing radio plays and TV series. After completing his master’s degree, he began directing his own TV Series, amongst which A TALE OF A CITY (DASTANE YEK SHAHR).

In 2002, he wrote and directed his debut feature film DANCING IN THE DUST (RAGHSS DAR GHOBAR). The film won Best Actor Award at the Moscow Film Festival, along with Best Screenplay and Best Director at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival.

A year later, Asghar Farhadi followed up with THE BEAUTIFUL CITY (SHAHRE ZIBA), a film that broke away from the prevailing social norms of the time. The film tells the story of an 18-year-old murderer sentenced to death, whose fate rests in the hands of his victim’s family. THE BEAUTIFUL CITY was distributed in France in 2012, arousing interest in various festivals around the world, and winning the Warsaw Grand Prix.

In 2005, Farhadi directed FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY (CHAHAR SHANBEH SOURI), the portrait of an Iranian family from the perspective of their maid.

Two years later, he directed ABOUT ELLY… (DARBAREYE ELLY) a gripping drama about the vacation of a friend group that goes wrong when one of them disappears. The film was screened simultaneously at the Berlinale and the Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran, where it respectively won the Silver Bear for Best Director and Best Director Award. ABOUT ELLY was released in France in September 2009 and attracted over 100,000 viewers.

Following this success, Farhadi started writing A SEPARATION (JODAEIYE NADER AZ SIMIN) which he brought to the screen in 2010. The film resonated with a worldwide audience, with this portrait of a middle-class family undergoing a crisis ultimately leading to a divorce. 

The film first premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, earning critical and public acclaim. It received the Golden Bear for Best Film and two Silver Bears, for the ensemble cast. The film ended up obtaining numerous awards, for a total of over 70 international prizes, including a Golden Globe, an Oscar and a César. A SEPARATION was sold worldwide and achieved unprecedented success for an Iranian film. It was screened in 250 cinemas in France, where it attracted over a million viewers. The film was released in December 2011 in the United States and became one of the biggest foreign successes in the country. In 2012, Farhadi was listed amongst Time Magazine’s 100 most influential personalities.

Amongst the accolades received by A SEPARATION were Best Foreign Language Film at the Durban International Film Festival, Best Film and Best Screenplay at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Best Film at the Sydney Film Festival and Best Director at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival…

Farhadi then moved to Paris with his family to write a new screenplay, set outside Iran. The main character, Ahmad, returns to the French capital to finalize his divorce with his wife, Marie. His return forces them to face their shared history. THE PAST was released in France in May 2013, attracting nearly a million viewers, and simultaneously competed at the Cannes Film Festival. THE PAST won the Best Actress Award at Cannes before being nominated at the Golden Globes and the César.





Asghar Farhadi returned to Iran to shoot THE SALESMAN in 2015, which he completed in the spring of 2016. It was then selected for the Cannes Film Festival. This earned Asghar Farhadi the Best Screenplay Award, while its lead actor Shahah Hosseini received the Best Actor Award. The film was released simultaneously in France and Iran the following autumn, where it became Farhadi’s most significant success. In February 2017, he won the second Oscar of his career for Best Foreign Film. 

Farhadi began his next project just a few months later, bringing together Pénélope Cruz and Javier Bardem for EVERYBODY KNOWS, filmed in Spain and shot in spanish. The cast was completed by the addition of Argentinian actor Ricardo Darín. The film was selected at the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival, both as the opening film and in Competition. It was released in theaters on its Cannes presentation day and subsequently garnered over 830,000 admissions.

Its latest film A HERO (GHAHREMAN) was filmed in Iran and marks Farhadi’s fourth time competing for the Palme d’or. It is also the fourth of his films to be produced by Alexandre Mallet-Guy, and the seventh distributed by the latter in France. They first met in Berlin in February 2009, as Mallet-Guy was discovering ABOUT ELLY.



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