Iranian actresses who want to work in the Islamic Republic make a show of observing the hejab—sometimes in very bizarre ways—when permitted to travel to foreign premieres and film festivals. Golshifteh Farahani, one of Iran’s most popular actresses, refused to do so when she attended the 2008 New York premiere of the Ridley Scott thriller Body of Lies, where she played Leonardo DiCaprio’s love interest. She took refuge in Paris that year as a result. The banishment from the Islamic Republic took on a new fervor when she appeared topless in a short black-and-white film by Jean-Baptiste Mondino promoting the French Césars and in a photo for the magazine Madame Figaro. Living in Paris, she told the Guardian, set her free as a woman. “There are two types of people in exile—those who are victims and end up committing suicide in the Seine and those who become warriors, who use all their sadness to build an engine with big wings to fly,” she later told the New York Times. “Exile is my power.”

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