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Golshifteh Farahani Says she Won't Return to Iran

Source: Iran Times


Golshifteh Farahani

       The Iranian actress who plays Leonardo DiCaprio's love interest in the just-released film "Body of Lies" says despite being "totally in love with Iran," she will not return home where she may face charges for appearing in the film without government permission.

       According to The New York Daily News, Golshifteh Farahani, 25, is the first Iran-based actress to appear in a Hollywood film since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iranian officials reportedly are investigating whether she violated Islamic law by being in the movie, in which some of the scenes show her without hejab.

       But in the film, which stars DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, Farahani's character, Aisha, is a modest Arab nurse who treats DiCaprio's injuries but is wary of his advances and insists he first meet her family.  She won't even shake hands with DiCaprio as he leaves a lunch date with her.

       Farahani appeared at the New York red-carpet premiere of the film last Sunday dressed in a sleeveless designer dress and bare curly hair.

       According to The Washington Post, in the past week there have been heated debates among Iranian bloggers between those who label the Iranian actress as a sell-out and those who support her decision.

       "When I saw those pictures, I was disgusted," Mahdavi, an Iranian blogger who describes himself as a religious student, said.  "It was obvious from her frolicking that she had lost all sense of respectability."

       But Ali, another blogger, wrote, "Everybody is free to live as they like.  What's it to you?!"

       Blogger Behzad wrote, "The hejab is only valuable when it's chosen, and not forced.  Learn that we shouldn't be totalitarian.  No one can force people to have or not to have hejab.  Remember this."

       Farahani told the Daily News, "I had a lot of problems because of this movie. [Iranian officials] took my passport. The intelligence service interrogated me several times. In the end, the judge said, 'We have to see the movie and then decide what we're going to do with you.'"

       Farahani said her passport has been returned to her, but she fears what might happen if she goes back to Iran.

       "I'm on trial," the actress, who has been living in France with her husband, told the Daily News. "I'm totally in love with Iran. I have family there. But now, if they want to see me, they have to leave," the actress who lived in Iran until August said.

       "I'm going to stay here," she said.  "I lost one opportunity to do a screen test, for 'The Prince of Persia.'  I'm not ready for that again."

       Farahani is not the first Iranian woman to appear without hejab in America.  Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi defended her decision to appear without hejab by stating that the Iranian Constitution does not require Iranian women to cover their heads when they are abroad.

       The hardline daily Kayhan reported that Farahani's scarf-free appearance in the film was part of a conspiracy in an article headlined, "The cinema mafia takes female actress to America."  The article claimed Farahani was forced to appear without hejab.

       "They have forced her to appear in front of cameras without hejab and in inappropriate clothing.  They immediately published the pictures on websites.  Western groups try to break the taboo of being without a headscarf," the newspaper wrote.

Meanwhile, a new Iranian film in which Farahani stars is scheduled to be released soon.  But several government supporters have demanded that the film, entitled "Darbareh Elli," be banned in Iran.

       Body of Lies is a film directed by Ridley Scott and adapted from a 2007 novel by The Washington Post's David Ignatius's about a CIA operative, Roger Ferris-played by DiCaprio-who uncovers a lead on a major terrorist leader operating out of Jordan.

Espionage Thriller 'Body of Lies' Questions Terror War Ideology

       Reviews of the film were varied.  Some praised it for a "sophisticated line of thinking" while others panned it as yet another tired film about "good" American agents chasing "bad" Muslim terrorists across the Middle East, pointing to recent films with similar plots such as "Syriana," "Rendition" and "The Kingdom."

The film was released last week and came in third in U.S. box office receipts this past weekend, behind "Beverly Hills Chihuahuas" and "Quarantine." 

About Iran Times: The Iran Times is an independent newspaper with no affiliation with any political party or faction The Iran Times corporation was founded in Washington D.C. in 1970, in accordance with U.S. federal and local regulations:

... Payvand News - 10/20/08 ... --

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