Golshifteh Farahani – The Iranian Actress
Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani was banished (in 2012) from her home country Iran for posing “naked” in a French magazine called Madame Le Figaro. Farahani is best known for her role in the 2008 movie Body of Lies starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.
Farahani had appeared in a short black-and-white video with 30 other “young hopes” of the French cinema to promote the Césars, the “French Oscars”, where she had been nominated for her role in the winsome immigrant comedy Si Tu Meurs, Je Te Tue (If You Die, I’ll Kill You).
The promo had each actor take off an item of clothing as they stared into the camera to commit their “body and soul” to their art. Farahani chose to bare her right breast, saying: “I will put flesh to your dreams.”
She was Iran’s biggest film star. But when she bared her breast in a French Ad video, she was exiled permanently from the strict Islamic country.
Golshifteh Farahani also chose to pose nude for Madame Le Figaro to protest the restrictive Islamic codes in her home country (Iran) and the plight of women throughout the Muslim world. After the publication of Farahani’s statement, the Iranian Ministry of Culture responded by permanently exiling her from Iran.
Farahani stated and insisted that she did not pull the naked stunt to set out shock or provoke. “I hate politics. It is not my job. As always, something you do for nothing becomes political. I knew it would be difficult. But I am living in France now, I have to work here, and either I am living here or I am not.” she said.
“It was a big shock for me and my family and for the whole of Iranian society. The good thing is it started a huge debate that could never have happened before.
I was there watching people insult me, others answering them, others defending me, others attacking again.” she added.
“I have scars from every film I have made,” she says, lifting her sleeve and leg to show me. “There is nothing to protect actors. They treat you worse than a dog. You work like a slave, and you know I like it. That is the way it should be. Every film should be like your last.”
A man who said he claimed was an official of the supreme court of the Islamic Republic began shouting at her father on a telephonic conversation – telling him that his daughter would be punished severely and that her breasts would be cut off and presented to him on a plate to be forced feed.
She pulls a white scarf around her shoulders. It’s her old headscarf, “my old friend”. “The biggest problem for Iranian actresses,” she says is not the government but the world outside “who think we come out of our mothers with our heads covered”.