Some news and early looks at Eva Husson’s newest film Girls of the Sun have come out, including some images of beloved, controversial actress Golshifteh Farahani. Set in Kurdistan and centered on a Kurdish female battalion whose name provides the film its title, Girls of the Sun is a significant international collaboration between France, Belgium, Georgia, and Switzerland.
Iranian actress Farahani is arguably a household name at this point, arriving on the scene at the turn of the century when she began appearing in Iranian productions. In 1998 and at the age of 14, the young actress debuted in director Dariush Mehrjui’s Derakhte Golabi (“The Pear Tree”), a performance which earned her a Crystal Simorgh at the Fajr Film Festival—a significant achievement at the start of a career. Her last work filmed in Iran would be Asghar Farhadi’s critically acclaimed Darbareye Elly (“About Elly”), which would be Iran’s submission to the Oscars that year.
In the beginning of 2012, Farahani garnered the wrong kind of national attention, when she appeared in a promo video for French film Si Tu Meurs, Je Te Tue (“If You Die, I’ll Kill You”). In the promo, each featured actor removed an item of clothing, “…as they stared into the camera to commit their ‘body and soul’ to their art. Farahani chose to bare her right breast, saying: ‘I will put flesh to your dreams.’”
This apparently caused a “cultural earthquake,” where the actress had shattered a significant taboo at the peak of her fame in Iran, several years after causing a controversy for not wearing a headscarf while in attendance at the New York premiere of Body of Lies. After several incidents and while still in France, Farahani was formally prevented from returning to the country.
Interesting follow-up: in response to the video debacle, the actress decided to pose naked in a shoot for Egoiste magazine.
None of this has slowed the actress down at all, and her turn in Husson’s new film is another example of her impressive range, which sees her at similar ease in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie as in award-winning historical or relationship dramas. In Girls of the Sun, she plays the commander-in-chief of an all-women Kurdish rebel militia in a story inspired by real events (although not specifically based on a true story).
Perhaps Farahani’s tumultuous professional journey may be most closely linked to her success as an actress? In an interview in France last year, she clarified: “Now I’m here and I’m very happy and grateful to my interrogators, the government of Iran and the fascist regime because they all led me to such a wonderful light. I’m very grateful to them.”
Girls of the Sun is in post-production, but is expected to release later this year.
Subscribe to The Iranian newsletter
Sign up for our daily newsletter to get the top news stories delivered to your inbox.