A simple kiss on the cheek has caused controversy in the international film community. Cannes Film Festival Gilles Jacob kissed Iranian actress Leila Hatami as a greeting on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival. A public kiss, even on the cheek, can be a big no no in Iran, especially between people who aren’t married to each other.
Jacob, along with Hatami, was condemned by Iranian deputy culture minister Hossein Noushabadi, who called the kiss “a bad image of Iranian women”. Jacob defended himself by saying that he did not just simply kiss her, the actress, but “all Iranian cinema”, since that’s what she represents at the festival. But it seems that some political, religious, and media leaders in Iran do not want to take the compliment.
Leila Hatami serves on the competitive jury of the festival with Sofia Coppola, Willem Dafoe, Carole Bouquet, Jeon Do-yeon, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Gael Garcia Bernal, Iran’s Press TV reported last month. Together, they will decide who will be honored at Cannes.
According to the Washington Post, The Young Journalists Club accused the actress of “unconventional and improper behavior” not only because of the kiss, but because her neck was showing. But most other higher level Iranian government and media outlets are remaining mum. After all, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received similar criticism last year, by embracing the late Hugo Chavez’s mother.
— Saeed Kamali Dehghan (@SaeedKD) May 18, 2014
Leila Hatami is best known for her movie, A Separation, which won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 2012 for best Best Foreign Language Film. She also won the prestigious Silver Berlin Bear award at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival for her acting in the movie. According to IMDB, she currently lives in Iran and is the daughter of Director Ali Hatami and Actress Zari Khoshkam.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.