The publication of a nude picture of a popular Iranian actress currently in exile in Paris has sparked enormous Internet buzz, and polarized many Iranians conflicted about nudity—at a time that Iran’s independent movie community is under severe repression by authorities. Is it a courageous act of challenging Islamic and cultural taboos, or an insensitive and selfish move that might give Tehran hardliners an excuse in to put more pressure on Iran’s independent film community.
Earlier this week, France’s Madame Le Figaro magazine published a photo of Golshifteh Farahani in which she posed with her hands covering her breasts. In a short video placed on the Internet by the academy that gives out the César—the French version of the Oscar—Farahani is seen with other individuals selected for an award. Everyone is removing their clothes, but only Frahani shows her bare breast to the camera.
Farahani 28, who is also a musician, is one of Iran’s most popular actresses. She started her career in theater age 6, and appeared in her first film at 14. She has received a number of prestigious awards, such as a Silver Bear from the Berlin International Film Festival (2009) for the movie, Elly, directed by Asghar Farhadi, who received a Golden Globe Award for his new film, The Separation, last week. Farahani has starred in more than 15 films, including Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies (2008), with Leonardo DiCaprio.