Taraneh Alidoosti Is The Iranian Actress To Watch

Taraneh Alidoosti’s star continues to rise as one of Iran’s finest actresses, and The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) saw fit to improve this awareness here in the states by listing her first in their lineup of The 10 Best Female Film Performances of Early 2017. The 33-year-old actress has delivered a string of successful performances, yet remains relatively unknown in the US. The TFI praises her turn as the lead in Asghar Farhadi’s drama The Salesman, celebrating how she “refuses to embroider the character with personal touches or make her exceptional in ways that transcend the confined events and traumatic revelations depicted within the film.”

While The Salesman originally came out last year (and won the coveted Oscar award for Best Foreign Language Film), it was only touring film festivals in America at the time, before embarking on a limited distribution in late January. Curious, then, that the most recent Cannes Film Festival chose not to honor her distinguished performance with so much as a nomination, even while the film reigned in awards for the director and his male lead Shahab Hosseini; this negligence by the esteemed French festival makes the TFI’s praise that much more notable.

Alidoosti’s screen accomplishments began at a young age, with her debut at 17 years old in Rasul Sadrameli’s I’m Tareneh, 15, a film which almost made The Academy’s shortlist in 2003. The story of the titular character involves a marriage of convenience and teenage pregnancy—challenging topics for a turn-of-the-century Iranian production—though her performance was recognized by a variety of awards, including the Crystal Simorgh (Crystal Phoenix), Iran’s major cinema-related honor.

The above-mentioned Academy Awards did not feature the actress in attendance, as she made a noteworthy statement of boycotting the 2017 event in response to Trump’s visa ban on Iranians.

Others in the film industry joined her in their refusal to attend, including director Farhadi, who presented a similar expression of social awareness and critique back in 2012, when he was the first Iranian director to win the Foreign Language Film Oscar. On accepting the award, Farhadi chose to use his time at the podium to read a message of peace on behalf of his homeland.

Taraneh Alidoosti presently stars in the award-winning streaming romantic drama Shahrzad, which takes place during the years surrounding the 1953 Iranian coup d’état and—despite some nuanced content—is licensed by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran. Shahrzad has yet to be translated into English, but its hopeful arrival to English-speaking audiences in the states will doubtlessly propel the gifted actress even further.

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