Iranian film continues to make headlines, this time with a special recognition for Iranian actress Leila Hatami. In a curated list of performances that include Bjork, Laura Linney, and Charlize Theron, Hatami has been named by IndieWire for her powerful turn in Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning film A Separation.
“Hatami gives the movie a commanding center,” writes Eric Kohn, “as a determined women keen on taking control of her surroundings even as they slowly close in on her…She’s the key engine in the movie’s rage against the system.” The actress has been prominent on the big screen ever since 1992’s The Love-stricken, a historical drama directed by Ali Hatami (who is also the actress’ father), and has appeared in over two dozen films since, drawing accolades and praise throughout her career.
While Hatami has secured the Crystal Simorgh award previously—first for her role in Bi Pooli—A Separation is arguably her most internationally recognized film, and became the winner of Iran’s first Academy Award. In the movie, the actress portrays Simin, a woman attempting to escape Iran for its oppressive laws, but whose husband refuses to leave with her. Eventually, personal and political complications arise to further compromise the family at the center of these decisions.
Earlier this year, Leila Hatami was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of over 700 new prospective members, ten of whom are reportedly Iranian. The new invites potentially arrived as part of the organization’s response to key criticisms, and represent recently directed efforts towards increased cultural sensitivity.
The actress most recently appeared in the leading role of Mina in 2017’s Rag-e Khab (Subdued), a movie directed by Hamid Nematollah and filmed in Iran.
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