Iranian backlash over Leila Hatami Cannes kiss

Leila Hatami Hatami is one of nine jury members including president, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Willem Dafoe

Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob has played down a backlash in Iran after he kissed actress and prize jury member Leila Hatami on the cheek.

Jacob said it was "a usual custom in the West" after Iranian media claimed it was an affront to the "chastity" of women in Iran.

"I kissed Mrs Hatami on the cheek," Jacob tweeted.

"At that moment, for me she represented all Iranian cinema, then she became herself again."

"The controversy over a usual custom in the West has therefore no reason to be," he added.

But Iranian deputy minister of culture, Hoseyn Nushabadi, said that Hatami's appearance in Cannes was "in violation of religious beliefs".

Born into a family with a film background, Hatami gained worldwide recognition for her role in Asghar Farhadi's A Separation, which won the 2012 Academy Award for best foreign language film.

She still lives in Iran with her husband, actor Ali Mosaffa.

The conservative Young Journalists' Club, operated by the country's state broadcaster, wrote that "extending her (Hatami's) hand to Jacob was unconventional and improper behaviour".

Sebastian Usher, the BBC's World Service Middle East editor, said Hatami was wearing a scarf around her head but her neck was uncovered. Both her dress and the kiss "are unacceptable in the Islamic Republic of Iran", he explained.

Hatami is one of five women members on the Palme d'Or prize jury, which includes actress Carole Bouquet and directors Sofia Coppola and jury president Jane Campion.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Entertainment & Arts stories



  • A very clever little girlBrain gain

    Why are people getting better at intelligence tests?

  • BeefaloBeefalo hunt

    The hybrid animal causing havoc in the Grand Canyon

  • A British Rail signBringing back BR

    Would it be realistic to renationalise the railways?

  • Banksy image of girl letting go of heart-shaped balloonFrom the heart

    Fergal Keane on the relationship between love and politics

  • Don Roberto Placa Quiet Don

    The world's worst interview - with one of the loneliest men on Earth

From BBC Culture


  • BatteriesClick Watch

    More power to your phone - the lithium-ion batteries that could last twice as long

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.