Thu, Jan 19, 2012 | By Crethi Plethi
Iran: After Posing Nude, Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani No Longer Welcome in her Home Country
“After [Egyptian] Alya al-Mahdi posed naked, it seemed that getting naked publicly had become the only means women had to protest against gender discrimination, as there are no other ways to express protest as such.” — Hamid al-Kanani, expert on Iranian issues. (Al-Arabiya)
The controversy sparked by Aliaa Magda ElMahdy, a 20-year-old blogger and female activist in Egypt, after posting a nude photo she took of herself on her blog is followed by another controversial posting of a nude photograph.
This time it’s famous Paris-based Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani causing a stir because she uncovers her breast in a video for French magazine Le Figaro Madame in preparation for this year’s César award ceremony — France’s equivalent to the Oscars — and afterwards posting a photo on her Facebook page on Januari 18.
Golshifteh Farahani became the first Iranian to star in a Hollywood film — Body Of Lies (2008) — with her role as nurse Aisha [which also starred Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Russel Crowe]. Farahani, who was born three years after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran [according to Al-Arabiya], told media that she had been contacted by the Iranian government [apparently by Iran’s minister of culture and Islamic guidance], telling her that she is no longer welcome in the country, that Iran no longer had “need for actors” and that she could “offer her services elsewhere”. She was then advised not to return home. [DailyMail, 18 Jan]
The Iranian government’s anger is because Farahani published the offending photo on her facebook page and also showed her breast in a videoclip in protest against the restrictive Islamic dress codes, one of the reasons why she left Iran last year. One of the movies she performed in, the 2007 film Santoori, is still banned in Iran. The black-and-white video features the 28-year-old Farahani against a black backdrop uncovering her breast. The black-and-white photo, with her hands strategically placed over her breasts, was afterwards published in French magazine Le Figaro Madame.
As was the case with the Aliaa Magda ElMahdy controversy many criticised Farahani’s ‘nudity and incedency’, while others praised her for ‘the courage to remove a taboo among the women in Muslim countries’.
“I do not support what she did nor reject it, because it was her personal choice, but I love her courage,” wrote one Iranian blogger named Alfred. “She did what the Egyptian blogger Alya Majda al-Mahdi did, and this is to protest against gender discrimination and the forced veil,” he wrote. [Al-Arabiya, Jan 18]
“The proliferation of such pictures of the Iranian actress is an indication of the failure of the Islamic republic’s policies when it comes to culture and religion, especially since she was born and raised during the religious era and entered schools heavy in religious teachings and lived in societies where men and women are separated even in public institutions,” said Hamid al-Kanani, an expert on Iranian issues. “The way that the system has imposed hijab and the separation between men and women made Iranians feel repelled from religion.” [Al-Arabiya, Jan 18]
According to Iran’s official Fars news agency, “the photo published on the Internet of the deplorable Golshifteh Farahani reveals the terrible face of cinema.”
It’s not the first time Golshifteh Farahani angers Iran’s government. In September 2010, after the 14th annual film festival organized by the House of Cinema in Tehran, director Asghar Farhadi criticized the Iranian regime and called for political change in the country. Farhadi made these remarks in his acceptance speech for being awarded best director of the year for his film About Elly. The title role in the film was played by Golshifteh Farahani.
As a result of the 2008 Hollywood Body of Lies movie, she was banned from leaving Iran and now that she is living in Paris she is banned from returning to Iran.
Actress Golshifteh Farahani uncovers her breast in a video (watch at 0.29) for Figaro Madame in preparation for this year’s César award ceremony. Video posted on YouTube by Figaro Madame.