Ebrahimi’s character in Holy Spider has also been a victim of lascivious rumours and male predation. The film suggests there was little official pressure to catch the murderer, who ends up a hero among the religious right.
“This film is about women, it’s about their bodies, it’s a movie full of faces, hair, hands, feet, breasts, sex, everything that is impossible to show in Iran,” Ebrahimi told the audience.
Abbasi insisted the film should not be seen as controversial.
“Everything shown here is part of people’s everyday life. There is enough evidence that people in Iran have sex, too. There’s ample evidence of prostitution in every city of Iran,” he told reporters.
Ebrahimi grew up in Tehran where she went to drama school, making her first film at 18, and quickly became known for playing wise and morally upstanding characters.
Exiled from Iran
In 2006, Iranian investigators began probing a video widely distributed on the black market that purported to show the young soap star making love to her boyfriend.
The leak’s author, facing arrest, fled the country. Ebrahimi said at the time she was the victim of an “immoral campaign”. The case became so high-profile that Tehran’s chief prosecutor handled it personally.
“They wanted to delete me from everywhere, remove me from cinema. Maybe to [commit] suicide, to die. But in the end I’m here with this award,” she said at a post-award news conference.
Ebrahimi then moved to Paris, speaking no French, and kept afloat with odd jobs.
“I knew nothing about the film industry in France,” she told daily Le Monde. “There was nobody to help me. It took me two or three years to figure out where I had landed.”