The Iranian actress, Leila Hatami is in hot water over an incident of smooching in Cannes.
A storm in a teacup began over a slight peck on the cheek between Iranian actress Leila Hatami and Gilles Jacob, the president of the Cannes Film Festival. Back in Iran, the whole matter was taken very seriously indeed. The cultural minister said that her behavior was in opposition to religious mandate.
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Furthermore, not only her kiss but the fact that she shook hands with Gilles was noted down and labeled as inappropriate. Such is the level of conservatism and state repression in Iran. But that is not where the whole shebang stops. Her revealing neckline was an issue as well.
Since in Iran, women wear the veil and any sexual overtures between men and women are discouraged in public, this act overseas was seen as sacrilegious. Hatami happens to be one of the most famous actresses of Iran. Her film won an Oscar recently.
Due to the level of fame and name this actress has brought the country, she will probably not be harassed when she returns to Iran. Others have not been so lucky in the past. Another Iranian actress, Golshifteh Farahani made a topless debut on the cover of a French magazine.
She was clearly told that she was unwelcome in Iran. But she chose to pursue other venues where her talent was appreciated (for example Hollywood). Although the current incident may make a small dent in Hatami’s standing in Iran, on the whole it will not effect her reputation.
There is a trend towards laxity even in the most totalitarian societies on earth. That is the spirit of postmodernism. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is known for his hardliner stance in Islamic matters, also faced pressures from the home turf when he gave a warm sympathetic hug to Hugo Chavez’s mother upon the Venezuelan President’s death.
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