Golshifteh Farahani And Zar Amir-Ebrahimi Lead ‘Reading Lolita In Tehran’ Adaptation; WestEnd Launches For Cannes Market

Iranian-American writer Azar Nafisi’s classic memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran has been adapted for the big screen with an ensemble cast led by actors Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson) and Zar Amir-Ebrahimi (Holy Spider).

The pic is an Italian-Israeli co-production directed by Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree) from a screenplay by Marjorie David. Production took place in Italy. It’s now in post, and WestEnd will launch sales at the upcoming Cannes market.

Translated into 32 languages and set after the revolution in Iran as extremism took hold, Nafisi’s memoir tells the autobiographical story of a bold and inspired teacher, who secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics, while their world as they knew it closed in around them. As the Islamic Republic took power, morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, and as fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, the women in Nafisi’s living room, whose rights had been systematically removed, risked everything to find a safe space to remove their veils and speak their minds. Despite the grave danger they are in, they find hope as their stories intertwine with the novels they are reading: Lolita, The Great Gatsby, Daisy Miller, and Pride and Prejudice; here they speak about their own dreams and wonder if the only way to achieve freedom will be to leave the home they still love.

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The primary cast is rounded out by Mina Kavani (No Bears). Producers include Michael Sharfshtein, Marica Stocchi, Moshe Edery, Santo Versace, Gianluca Curti, and Riklis. Production companies are United King Films, Topia Communications, Eran Riklis Productions, Minerva Pictures, and Rosamont with RAI Cinema.

Reading Lolita in Tehran, with its depiction of both human relationships and political and global matters, struck a deep emotional chord with me,” Riklis said.

“I was totally aware of the potential complexity of telling such an intimate story of women in Iran. But I also knew that it’s a wonderful and emotional challenge, based on a universal view of human struggle wherever and whenever it is. I knew that my approach to storytelling, one of respect, emotion, dignity, love, and responsibility, will always win and overcome any obstacles. Azar’s world has now become part of my world and I strongly believe that her story must be told, now more than ever.”

Check out the first image from the pic above.

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