Asghar Farhadi is one of the most prolific contemporary directors on the scene; he is currently one of the only directors to have won the Oscar for Best International Feature twice for his movies A Separation and The Salesman in the 2010s. Born near Isfahan, he studied dramatic arts at the University of Tehran and then got his master’s degree in stage direction for theatre.
Ashley Hajimirsadeghi, an Iranian-American writer and critic, has ranked Farhadi's films from the beginning to the present in his latest article for MOVIWEB:
Everybody Knows was Farhadi’s venture into making a film set in Spain and Spanish. Everybody Knows is a mystery story at its core, but it also is a slow burn. The pacing slowly crawls at the beginning of the movie, setting the scene and introducing the characters, but the acting in this movie is flawless. The tension between the dramatic and mystery elements is pushed and pulled, turning it into a drawn-out question: who did this?
5- Fireworks Wednesday
Fireworks Wednesday was the film that put Farhadi on the map. Like the tradition the movie is named after, it is a film about seeking new beginnings and leaving the life you once had behind for another one. This was Farhadi's first major film to gain international acclaim.
4- About Elly
Golshifteh Farahani (in what would be her final Iranian movie before being exiled from Iran), Shahab Hosseini, and Taraneh Alidoosti star in Farhadi’s acclaimed About Elly. This movie won him the Silver Bear for Best Director at Berlin Film Festival. The movie's beginning is polite, somewhat familiar, but as the conflict exposes itself, the movie twists and turns into a thriller.
3 -The Salesman
The Salesman won Farhadi his second Oscar. At the start of Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller devotes a full page of notes to describe the house where the long-married Willy and Linda Loman live in New York. It is, he writes, a “small, fragile-seeming home”. In his 2016 film The Salesman, Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi cranks up that symbolism.
2- A Hero
A Hero is Aghar Farhadi’s most recent movie, and it’s landed him on the Oscars shortlist for the third time and won the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival. This movie marks a departure from the previous tones some of his other movies had but is still a Farhadi movie.A Hero contemplates the grey area of what is and isn’t moral, asking the audience what makes a heroic person? Movies like to clearly define who’s the bad guy and who’s the good guy, but Farhadi complicates and humanizes this simplified way of seeing the world.
Iranian national cinema has a penchant for realism, but A Separation takes that concept to an entirely new level. The movie has so many layers to it, leading to questions about the way society, relationships, and moral codes function in contemporary Iran. A Separation became the first Iranian film to win the Oscar for Best International Feature and helped bring Iranian culture and cinema to a more mainstream audience.