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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Golshifteh Farahani

Golshifteh FarahaniGolshifteh Farahani (Persian: گلشیفته فراهانی‎, born on the 10th of July 1983 in Tehran, Iran. She is an Iranian actress and singer that has appeared in 35 films, many of which have received international recognition.

She was nominated for the Most Promising Actress Award for The Patience Stone at the 2014 Cesar Awards in France, and won the Best Actress Award for Boutique from the 26th Nantes Three Continents Festival in France.

In recent years she has had prominent roles in movies by well-known Iranian and international directors, including Asghar Farhadi, Bahman Ghobadi, Rasool Mollagholipoor, Jim Jarmusch, Ridley Scott, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.

She starred in the drama About Elly, which won Best Picture at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival and a Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Due to the questions the film raised about Iranian society, she has not worked in Iran since and currently resides in France.

Farahani was born in Tehran, the daughter of Behzad Farahani, a theatre director and actor, and Fahimeh Rahim Nia. Her sister is actress Shaghayegh Farahani. Golshifteh began studying music and piano at age five, and later entered a music school in Tehran.

Golshifteh FarahaniAt 14 she was cast as the lead in Dariush Mehrjui's The Pear Tree, a role for which she won the Crystal Roc for Best Actress from the International Section of the 16th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran.

Farahani starred in The Patience Stone in 2012, directed by Atiq Rahimi from his novel - favorably received by most reviewers. She also starred in a 2012 César Award video in the Most Promising Actors category.

In 2016, Farahani played Anna Karenina on stage in Paris and received laudatory reviews. She also played the lead role of Laura in director Jim Jarmusch's American feature film Paterson, opposite actor Adam Driver. The film received overwhelmingly positive reviews, scoring 96% approval on the movie site Rotten Tomatoes.

In 2017, she appeared in the fantasy film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as the sea witch Shansa.

She appeared in director Dariush Mehrjui's film Rumi's Kimia, which was based on Saideh Ghods's novel "Kimia Khatoon".

Numerous additional projects followed the Mehrjui collaboration, including the 2004 Iranian production The Tear of the Cold (as a seductive and wily shepherdess), Nacer Khemir's adventure drama/road movie Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul (2006)

Farahani is involved in environmental causes, and is an advocate for the eradication of tuberculosis in Iran. She is fluent in English, French, and Farsi and possesses some knowledge of Arabic and Kurdish.

Golshifteh FarahaniIn Iran, she was a member of Kooch Neshin (Nomads), a band that won the 2nd Tehran Avenue underground rock competition. Since leaving Iran, she has teamed up with another exiled Iranian musician, Mohsen Namjoo; their album Oy was released in October 2009. Rock music and women singing are banned in Iran.

In December 2014, she took 6th place in the annual Independent Critics Beauty List of 2014. Since moving to Paris, she has worked with directors Roland Joffe, Hiner Saleem and Marjane Satrapi, among others, and was a member of the international jury at the 63rd Locarno Film Festival.

After Farahani's appearance in the U.S. film Body of Lies, it was reported that government authorities had prevented her from leaving Iran.

However, this was denied by her colleagues, and she appeared at the movie's American premiere. Her last film performance in Iran was in About Elly directed by Asghar Farhadi.

But on her way to London to make a screen test for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time she was detained. The role she was set to audition for eventually went to English actress Gemma Arterton. This was only reported six months later when she actually could leave the country. She now lives in Paris, France.

Then in January of 2012, it was reported that Farahani would not be welcome in her homeland after posing nude in the French Madame Figaro. According to Britain's Daily Telegraph, Iranian government officials told her:

"Iran does not need actors or artists like you. You may offer your artistic services somewhere else." A picture from the shoot on her Facebook page initiated a lively debate about her behavior. She also appeared topless in a short black-and-white film by Jean-Baptiste Mondino called Corps et Âmes (Bodies and Souls).

Golshifteh FarahaniGolshifteh started her acting career in theater at the age of 6 and has always kept a strong link with the theater, but it was at the age of 14 that she acted in her first film The Pear Tree in 1998, for which she won the prize for the Best Actress from the international section of the Fajr Film Festival, immediately making her one of the stars of Iranian cinema.

Since then she has appeared in more than 15 films, many of which have been screened or awarded at international festivals. Amongst her latest films are Bahman Ghobadi's Half Moon (winner of the Golden Seashell at the San Sebastián film festival 2006), Dariush Mehrjui's controversial The Music Man in 2007 in which Golshifteh plays the piano herself. (This film is still banned in Iran) and the late Rasool Mollagholi Poor's M for Mother in 2006, which after a huge success in Iran was chosen to represent Iran for the Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards in 2008.

After playing in Body of Lies in 2008 by Ridley Scott with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe., Golshifteh became the first Iranian star to act in a major Hollywood production. Subsequently she was banned from leaving her country.

Her last film in Iran, About Elly in 2009, won a Silver Bear in Berlin and the Best Narrative Feature at Tribeca in 2009. Golshifteh graduated from music school, she sings and plays the piano amongst other instruments.

She had been married twice and both ended in divorce. She was married to Louis Garrel from 2012 to 2014 and Amin Mahdavi from 2003 to 2011. Now it has been confirmed she's been married to an Australian since May 2015. The name "Golshifteh" was not accepted by the authorities as a proper name, so the name "Rahavard" was chosen as an "official" first name for her.

Golshifteh Farahani Noteable Quotes:

"I think there is a problem in France that anyone who is not European, you want to know where they come from and why do they come from somewhere or why they speak English or why they are human. That's the big barrier for all of us that are coming from some far, far away countries. But at the end of the day, we are all artists."

"I have scars from every film I have made. There is nothing to protect actors. They treat you worse than a dog. You work like a slave, and you know, I like it. That is the way it should be. Every film should be like your last."

"Exile is my power."

"The Iran I'm dreaming of maybe doesn't exist anymore."

"I had to tell people I was not born with a scarf because I came out of Iran. People think you came out of your mother with a scarf; they can't imagine that the scarf is not stuck to your head."

"Independent cinema is more thoughtful, delicate. While Western blockbusters can have their own kind of delicateness, it's not delicate enough. You have to be ready to compromise to enter that field. I will do so only if it's worth it."

"For me, Iran was paradise, and I believe it's a paradise still, but only if you don't have political problems. If you have a political problem, paradise turns into hell."

Golshifteh Farahani"In my life, my parents wanted me to be a musician, I was supposed to go to Vienna to study piano. But this train wanted to go in another direction."

"The subjects that I am working with are movies that say something. They are shouting or criticising something. I would hate to play a princess waiting for the prince to come and give her a kiss."

"I was born into an artistic family, and they understood me. But they were really worried, because some of the stuff I did was dangerous. If I'd been caught without the veil with a shaved head, I don't know what would have happened."

"Exile is like death. You cannot understand it until it happens to you."

"There's an expression in Persian, 'To play with the lion's tail'. I wasn't what Iranian society wanted me to be - a good girl. I played with the lion's tail."

"If you want to do what you want to do, you cannot work. So art is going to be finished, and this is the will of the Islamic Republic: to not have any artists or art and close the doors of all the cinemas and music and everything."

"Paris is a city that liberates you as a woman from all your sins that you think you are guilty of; it washes away all of that, and you are free."

Golshifteh Farahani"I don't regret anything and what I have done in my period of my life. Everything happens for a reason, and that's why I am here."

"Iranian parents can't stop their children. They're just wild--they want to party, they want their rights, they want to paint, they want to dance. No one can stop these new generations coming. That's why Iran has to open up: it's like a pot full of hot water, vapor and steam."

I'm coming out of the belly of Iran. It was the only place I was free. It's funny - when I say that, everyone is like, 'What? Freedom?'. But the freedom I felt in Iran I've never felt anywhere else. Freedom of mind, freedom of time, of spirit. But after a while, you're so wounded that if you continue thinking about Iran, it will kill you."

"I don't believe I could live in Iran again. A tree, once uprooted from the earth, is very difficult to plant again."


Dance Scene from Just Like a Woman with Golshifteh Farahani


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Derakht e Golabie (The Pear Tree) Mim (Mitra) Simorgh Prize for Best Actress at the Fajr Film Festival
2000 Haft Parde (Seven Acts) The Angel Banned in Iran
2001 Zamaneh (Times) Zamaneh
2002 Jayee Digar (Somewhere Else) Raha
2003 Deux fereshté (Two Angels) Azar Banned in Iran
Selected for the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes Film Festival
Boutique Eti Best Actress at the Nantes Three Continents Festival
Best Actress at the House of Cinema Festival (Tehran)
2004 Ashk-e Sarma (The Tear of the Cold) Ronak Best Actress at the Kazan International Film Festival
Best Actress at the House of Cinema Festival (Tehran)
Bab'Aziz: Le prince qui contemplait son âme Noor Banned in Iran
2005 The Fish Fall in Love Touka Selected at Rotterdam Film Festival
Be Nam-e Pedar (In the Name of the Father) Habibeh
2006 Gis Borideh Maryam
Niwemang (Half Moon) Niwemang Banned in Iran
Selected at the Toronto Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival
2007 Mim Mesle Madar (M for Mother) Sepideh Best Actress at the Kazan Film Festival
To Each His Cinema Self Short film
Banned in Iran
Shown at the Cannes Film Festival
Santouri (The Music Man) Hanieh Banned in Iran
2008 Shirin Self Shown at the Venice Film Festival
Hamisheh Paye Yek Zan Dar Miyan Ast (There's Always a Woman in Between) Maryam
Divar (The Wall) Setareh Selected at the Tokyo Film Festival and the Taormina Film Festival
Body of Lies Aisha
2009 About Elly (Darbareye Elly) Sepideh
2010 Si Tu Meurs, Je Te Tue (I'll Kill You If You Die) Siba
2011 There Be Dragons Leila
Chicken With Plums (Poulet Aux Prunes) Iran
2012 Just Like a Woman Mona
The Patience Stone The Woman
2013 My Sweet Pepperland Govend
2014 Eden Yasmin
Exodus: Gods and Kings Nefertari
Rosewater Maryam Bahari
2015 Les Deux Amis Mona
Go Home Nada
Ports of Calls Clara
2016 Altamira Conchita
Paterson Laura
Sophie's Misfortunes Madame de Réan
2017 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Shansa
The Song of Scorpions Nooran
Shelter Mona/Lina Haddad
The Upside Maggie
Santa & Cie Amélie
2018 Les filles du soleil (Girls of the Sun) Bahar
The Night Eats the World Sarah
Red Snake Rebel
2019 Gen:Lock Yasamin "Yaz" Madrani Web series
Voice only
2019 Arab Blues

Awards and nominations

Year Event Award Film Result
1997 Fajr International Film Festival Best Actress from the International Section Derakht e Golabie (The Pear Tree) Won
2004 Three Continents Festival (Nantes, France) Prix d'Interpretation Feminine Boutique Won
Fajr International Film Festival Best Actress Ashk-e Sarma (The Tear of the Cold) Nominated
House of Cinema Festival (Tehran) Best Actress Ashk-e Sarma (The Tear of the Cold)
2005 Fajr International Film Festival Best Supporting Actress Mahiha Ashegh Mishavand (The Fish Fall in Love) Nominated
2006 Kazan International Film Festival Best Actress Ashk-e Sarma (The Tear of the Cold) Won
2007 Roshd International Film Festival (Tehran) Special Prize for the Best Actress Mim Mesle Madar (M for Mother) Won
Kowsar Film Festival (Mashhad) Best Actress Won
2008 Fajr International Film Festival Best Actress Divar (The Wall)
Hamisheh Paye Yek Zan Dar Miyan Ast (There's Always a Woman in Between)
Kazan International Film Festival Best Actress Mim Mesle Madar (M for Mother) Won
Asolo Film Festival (Italy) Eleonora Duse Award International Recognition for a Prominent Figure in Theater or Cinema Won
Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Actress Darbareye Elly (About Elly) Nominated
2012 Gijón International Film Festival Best Actress The Patience Stone Won
Abu Dhabi Film Festival Best Actress Won
2013 Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Actress My Sweet Pepper Land Nominated
Asian Film Awards Best Actress The Patience Stone Nominated
Favorite Actress Nominated
2014 Stony Brook Film Festival Outstanding Performance My Sweet Pepper Land Nominated
César Awards, France Most Promising Actress The Patience Stone Nominated
2015 International Online Cinema Awards (INOCA) Best Actress Darbareye Elly (About Elly) Nominated
2016 Lumières Awards, France Most Promising New Actress Les Deux Amis (Two Friends) Nominated
2018 Chlotrudis Awards[15] Best Supporting Actress Paterson Nominated

Theater performance

Year Play Role Notes
2003 Maryam and Mardavij Mayan
2004 The Black Narcissus Workshop
2005 Mofatesh (The Inspector) Firoozeh Banned in Iran
2013 A Private Dream Sarah Toured North America (March–April 2013)
2016 Anna Karenina Toured around the France and in Paris at the Théâtre de la Tempête directed by Gaëtan Vassart

Music video

Year Song Artist Notes
2014 "Pola" Jabberwocky (featuring Clara Cappgli)
2018 "Paradis" Orelsan


Date Venue Note
August 10, 2009 Sala Verdi, Milan Conservatory With Mohsen Namjoo, presentation of the new album Oy
November 9, 2009 Lido, Venice With Mohsen Namjoo, during the Venice Film Festival


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