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Golshifteh Farahani

Golshifteh FarahaniGolshifteh Farahani, born on the 10th of July 1983 in Tehran, Iran is an Iranian actress, musician and singer who lives in exile in France.

Born the daughter of Behzad Farahani, a theater director and actor, and Fahimeh Rahim Nia. Her sister is actress Shaghayegh Farahani. Farahani, who started studying music and playing the piano at the age of five, later entered a music school in Tehran.

At the age of 14, Farahani was cast as the lead in Dariush Mehrjui's The Pear Tree. For that work she won the Crystal Roc for Best Actress from the International Section of the 16th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran.

Farahani has acted in 25 films, of which numerous ones have received international recognition. For Boutique she won the Best Actress award from the 26th Nantes Three Continents Festival held in Nantes, France.

In recent years she has had roles in movies by some of Iran's most well-known directors.

The movies include Dariush Mehrjui's Santouri (The Santoor Player), Bahman Ghobadi's Half Moon (winner of the Golden Shell at the 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival), and the late Rasool Mollagholipoor's M for Mother (Iran's nominee for the 2008 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category) and Jim Jarmusch's Patterson.

Golshifteh FarahaniWhen asked about working with Jim Jarmusch her response was:

"Jim Jarmusch represents my dream of cinema. His films represent a cinema that takes this art to another level. It is entertaining but at the same time it brings some meaning into people's lives. It is independent and it's always suffering - it's hard to make these films, even for him. For me, he's a legend and this is how I'd like cinema to be."

"When I got the chance to work with him, I was just so blown away. I thought that I didn't even need to read the script, because I could just do it with my eyes closed and be fully confident. When he came to me and asked me to be in this movie, the offer had such tenderness. It was such a soothing, amazing thing."

"When I first read the script I liked it very much. Of course, when you read the script without seeing any images, you imagine Paterson, and you have to know Jim to be able to picture that. It might be a very simple script in which literally nothing really happens, but if you know Jim then you know that something amazing is going to come out of it that will blow your mind. There are so many layers behind it and so many dimensions of life, and teachings, that just come out of it."

"He is a very soft, tender, gentle person so the whole environment during shooting is also very tender, very calm, very loving and friendly. Because it's an independent film and there was not much money, everybody worked as a team - as friends."

Golshifteh Farahani"I don’t think that Jim wants to say anything big in his films - he doesn't have any flag."

"He doesn't even analyze his own work. Paterson is an introvert and he gets everything. He is emotional, but his emotions come out in a different way. He feels everything even more than other people, because he is a poet."

"For him a pumpkin is something different than what it is for a normal person; he can write a poem about a pumpkin since he is very intensely and deeply in touch with the world. That's why I think these two characters are so beautiful together."

"It's funny because he's an introvert who lives outside and gets everything from the outside world. Laura, on the other hand, is an extrovert living inside the house. It's like their world is complete because they complete each other."

"Shit happens in life. Sometimes we make some mistakes. Paterson has a routine. He always does the same thing over and over."

"He doesn't make mistakes. He takes the same lunch, he brings it back, he wears the same clothes, he goes to the same place, he goes to the same bar, and he orders the same thing."

"However, he forgets his notebook on the couch and something happens to it."

"Based on what I know of Jim, I don't think he wants to manifest any meaning there about artists or introverts; this is just what happens."

Golshifteh FarahaniFarahani also won Best Actress at the 37th Roshd International Film Festival.

Following her acting in the American film called Body of Lies, she reportedly had been prevented by Iranian authorities from traveling anywhere outside of Iran. But, this was denied by her friends and colleagues and she later appeared at the movie's premiere in the United States

Farahani's last film performance in Iran was in About Elly directed by Asghar Farhadi. The film won Best Picture at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival and a Silver Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Besides acting, Golshifteh is involved in environmental activities; she has also become an ambassador for fighting tuberculosis in Iran.

In Iran, Golshifteh was part of an underground rock band named "Kooch Neshin" (Nomads), which won the 2nd Tehran Avenue underground rock competition.

Since leaving Iran, she has continued her music career as well, teaming up with another exiled Iranian musician, Mohsen Namjoo. Their album Oy was released in October of 2009.

Farahani now lives in Paris, France. Since moving to Paris, she has worked with directors including Roland Joffe, Hiner Saleem and Marjane Satrapi. She has also been a member of the international jury at the 63rd Locarno Film Festival.

Golshifteh FarahaniOne of her upcoming movies is Rumi's Kimia. Still in development, it is directed by Dariush Mehrjui and is based on the novel "Kimia Khatoon", by Saideh Ghods. Farahani also starred in a 2012 César Award's video in the Most Promising Actors category.

The movie The Patience Stone (2012), directed by Atiq Rahimi from his novel, has received a majority of positive reviews upon its release.

In 2016, Farahani played Anna Karenina on stage in Paris and received great reviews from all the French press.

In 2017, Farahani appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales with Johnny Depp.

In December of 2014, she took the 6th place in the Annual Independent Critics Beauty List of 2014.

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

"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, or Bodies and Souls.

Golshifteh FarahaniLess than 24 hours after the photo and video appeared on Facebook, thousands of people had shared or commented on them. Some saw the actress as brave to ignore the taboos in Iran.

Considering Farahani was born after the Islamic Revolution and is considered a child of the Islamist system enforced by the Iranian regime, some saw her behavior as a protest against oppressive policies that for the past three decades have done things like force women to wear the hijab.

Farahani is not the first Iranian to appear nude before the camera after the 1979 Revolution. In a 2006 film, Scream of Ants, directed by acclaimed Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the actress and TV peronality Luna Shad was seen naked in some scenes - something unprecedented since the Islamic Revolution.

"Opposing this photograph is totally understandable in the existing atmosphere inside Iran, because the environment is not ready for such actions," Luna Shad remarked in a Daily Beast telephone interview.

"But I am surprised at the reactions of Iranian intellectuals outside Iran."

"Though Iranians outside Iran are talking about democracy and freedom, I can see that their reaction to Golshifteh's choice in her environment in France is not that different from how they reacted to my choice seven years ago."

Golshifteh FarahaniA well-known media critic named Mehdi Jami wrote in his blog, Sibestan:

"When the sanctimonious regime was driving thousands upon thousands of Iranians abroad, making them refugees of the world, it never thought it was preparing the basis for changes that would, sooner or later, affect the situation inside the country."

"Because these thousands upon thousands live among other cultures, and they enjoy freedoms that would change their behavior and the effect of their choices will no longer just stay outside Iran."

"Today, immigrant Iranians have turned into a source of change for those inside the country and use different media for communicating with their own people and this is history joking with a regime that has been our most ill-humored political and thinking system."

On Farahani's Facebook page the photo was posted with the following statement:

"Golshifteh Farahani breaks the taboo of the so-called Islamic Hejab for Iranian actors in Le Figaro's Madame Magazine."

"There are a lot of nude photographs on the internet, but the nude picture of this exiled Iranian actress is different. This is for freedom and an objection to censorship in Iran."

"This image is a scream against a society that is full of violence, racism, sexual discrimination, sexual abuse, and duplicity."

"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."

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Year Title Role Notes
1997 Derakht e Golabie - The Pear Tree Mim Best Film at Chicago Film Festival
Best Actress from International Section of Fajr International 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 Nantes Three Continents Festival
Critic's Choice and Best First Film at Fajr International Film Festival
Best Actress at House of Cinema Festival (Tehran)
2004 Ashk-e Sarma (The Tear of the Cold) Ronak Best Film and Best Actress at Kazan International Film Festival Best Actress at House of Cinema Festival (Tehran)
Bab'Aziz: Le prince qui contemplait son âme Noor (banned in Iran)
2005 Mahi-ha Ashegh Mishavand (Fish Fall in Love) Touka Selected at Rotterdam Film Festival
Be Nam-e Pedar - In the Name of the Father Habibeh Best Film at Fajr International Film Festival
2006 Gis Borideh Mariam
Niwemang - Half Moon) Niwemang (banned in Iran) Best film & Best Photography at San Sebastian Film Festival
People's Choice at Istanbul Film Festival
selected at Toronto Film Festival & at Tribeca Film Festival
2007 Mim Mesle Madar - M for Mother) Sepideh Best Film at Rome International Festival of Cinema and Religion
Best Actress at Kazan Film Festival
To Each His Cinema (short film) Self (banned in Iran) shown at Cannes Film Festival
Santouri - Santouri The Music Man Hanieh (banned in Iran) People's Choice at Fajr International Film Festival
2008 Shirin Self shown at Venice Film Festival
Hamisheh Paye Yek Zan Dar Miyan Ast - There's Always a Woman in Between) Mariam People's Choice at Fajr International Film Festival
Divar (The Wall) Setareh Best Photography at Fajr International Film Festival
selected at Tokyo Film Festival & at Taormina Film Festival
Body of Lies Aisha Directed by Ridley Scott, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe
2009 About Elly - Darbareye Elly Sepideh Silver Bear for Best Director at Berlin Film Festival
Best Film at Tribeca Film Festival
Best Director and People's Choice awards at Fajr Film Festival
2010 Si Tu Meurs, Je Te Tue - I'll Kill You If You Die Siba Directed by Huner Saleem with Jonathan Zaccai
2011 There Be Dragons Leila Directed by Roland Joffe with Charlie Cox, Wes Bentley, Dougray Scott and Olga Kurylenko
Chicken With Plums - Poulet Aux Prunes Iran Directed by Marjan Satrapi with Mathieu Amalric and Isabella Rossellini
2012 Just Like a Woman Mona Directed by Rachid Bouchareb with Sienna Miller
The Patience Stone Directed by Atiq Rahimi
2013 My Sweet Pepperland Govend Directed by Huner Saleem
2014 Eden Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
Exodus: Gods and Kings Nefertari Directed by Ridley Scott
Rosewater Maryam Bahari Directed by Jon Stewart
2015 Les Deux Amis Mona Directed by Louis Garrel
Go Home Nada Directed by Jihane Chouaib
Ports of Calls Clara Directed by Atique Rahimi
2016 Altamira Conchita Directed by Hugh Hudson
Paterson Laura Directed by Jim Jarmusch
The Misfortunes of Sophie Madame de Réan Directed by Christophe Honoré
2017 Song of scorpion Directed by Anup Singh
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Haifaa Meni
2017 Refuge Lina Haddad Directed by Eran Riklis

Awards and nominations

Year Event Award Film
1997 Fajr International Film Festival Best Actress from the International Section Derakhte Golabi (The Pear Tree)
2003 Three Continents Festival in Nantes, France Prix d'Interpretation Feminine Boutique
2004 Fajr International Film Festival Nominated for Best Actress Ashk-e Sarma (Tear of the Cold)
House of Cinema Festival (Tehran) Best Actress Ashk-e Sarma (Tear of the Cold) & Boutique
2005 Fajr International Film Festival Nominated for Best Supporting Actress Mahiha Ashegh Mishavand (Fish Fall in Love)
2006 Kazan International Film Festival Best Actress Ashk-e Sarma (Tear of the Cold)
2007 Roshd International Film Festival in Tehran Special Prize for the Best Actress Mim Mesle Madar (M for Mother)
Kowsar Film Festival (Mashhad) Best Actress Mim Mesle Madar (M for Mother)
2008 Fajr International Film Festival Nominated for Best Actress Divar (The Wall) & Hamishe 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)
Asolo Film Festival in Italy Eleonora Duse Award International Recognition for a Prominent Figure in Theater or Cinema
Asia Pacific Screen Awards Nominated for Best Actress Darbareye Elly (About Elly)
2013 Asia Pacific Screen Awards Nominated for Best Actress My Sweet Pepperland

Theater performance

year play role note
2003 Mariam And Mardavij Mayan
2004 The Black Narcissus Workshop
2005 Mofatesh (The Inspector) Firoozeh Banned in Iran
2013 A Private Dream Toured North America
2016 Anna Karenina Anna Karenina Toured around the France and in Paris at the Théâtre de la Tempête directed by Gaëtan Vassart

Music Video

2014 "Pola" (Jabberwocky)
featuring Clara Cappgli (songwriter)


date venue note
11/09/09 Lido, Venice With Mohsen Namjoo, during the Venice Film Festival
08/10/09 Sala Verdi, Milan Conservatory With Mohsen Namjoo, presentation of the new album "Oy"


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Bonesetters Waiting Room

In the Bonesetter's Waiting Room:
Travels Through Indian Medicine

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week India defies definition, and the story of medicine in India is similarly rich and complex: shaped by unique challenges and opportunities, uniting cutting-edge technological developments with ancient cultural traditions, fuelled by political changes which transformed the lives of millions and moulded by the energy of forceful individuals. Here, Aarathi Prasad investigates how Indian medicine came to be the way it is. Her travels will take her to bonesetter clinics in Jaipur and Hyderabad and the waiting-rooms of Bollywood's best plastic surgeons, and introduce her to traditional healers as well as the world-beating heart surgeon who is revolutionising treatment of the poor around the globe.

Like a Virgin

Exploring the Frontiers of Conception

Sexual evolution is a slippery business. Like all mammals, we humans seem to have been left no choice in the matter: even though it is costly, inefficient and dangerous, if we want to reproduce we simply have to have sex. Yet most human cultures tell the tale of a maiden who gives birth untouched by a man; and in the wild there are plenty of creatures – such as turkeys, komodo dragons, sharks and the ‘Jesus Christ’ lizard (which walks on water, too) – that take various approaches to reproducing without sex.

In LIKE A VIRGIN, the biology writer Aarathi Prasad discusses how reproduction without sex is achieved in animals and explores why evolution hasn’t made it an option for humans – yet. In doing so, she provides a quirky, entertaining and perceptive overview of the mysteries of evolutionary biology, sex and reproduction – past, present and future.

It’s a remarkable story that ranges across Greek mythology, natural history, agriculture, conservation and medicine; takes in some of the most exciting areas of developmental genetics and molecular biology that other popular science books largely ignore; and is packed full of a cast of amazing characters, be they obscure animals or eccentric scientists such as the respected geneticist Dr Helen Spurway who in the UK in the 1950s unwittingly sparked a nationwide search for a virgin mother.

There is now a plethora of strategies being developed in reproductive medicine that could ultimately keep our species going in a world of embellished sex: the creation of artificial eggs and sperm from bone marrow, labs-on-chips on which eggs are fertilized, silicone wombs and artificial wombs (where fetuses can spend their full nine months), and even research to prepare us for reproduction in space. What’s more, we are finally beginning to understand what genetic modifications are needed to allow for the creation of women who could have babies without having sex. Now that we have the competent hand of science in our lives, will girls still need men?

Publisher: Oneworld (UK/US)
Pub Date: 16 August 2012
Status: Draft manuscript
Length: 288 pages

All rights available excluding:
UK & Commonwealth, US, Arabic (Arab Scientific), Japan (East Press)

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Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look

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