Following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Iran, more than 50 French female artists have banded together to show their support of the ongoing protests in Iran.
Amini died in police custody on September 16 after being arrested for not properly wearing her hijab to fully cover her hair. Iranian police said she died of a heart attack, but eyewitnesses claim she was beaten to death. Women around the world have since cut a lock of their hair with #HairForFreedom to show their support for Amini and in solidarity with Iranian women living under the Islamic Republic’s strict theocratic rule.
Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert, Isabelle Adjani, and Charlotte Gainsbourg were among the French actresses to cut their hair in a viral Instagram video. Binoche says “for freedom” when blindly cutting her hair atop her head. A Persian version of Italian anti-fascist resistance ballad “Bella Ciao” is performed by Iranian artist Gandom in the background, while the final artist shown in the video is “Persepolis” creator Marjane Satrapi, a French-Iranian artist and director who penned the award-winning graphic novel and its film adaptation.
“Since Mahsa’s death on September 16, the Iranian people, led by women, have been protesting at the risk of their lives,” the caption reads. “These people only hope for access to the most essential freedoms. These women, these men, are asking for our support.”
The post continues, “Their courage and dignity oblige us [to act]. It is impossible not to denounce again and again this terrible repression. There have been dozens of deaths, including children. The arrests are swelling the number of prisoners already illegally held and too often tortured. We decided to answer the call that was thrown at us by cutting some of these locks.”
The initiative was started by international human rights lawyer Richard Sedillot in cooperation with French barristers Julie Couturier and Christiane Feral Schuhl. The video campaign follows an open letter signed by more than 1,000 members of French cinema supporting the protests in Iran.
Catherine Corsini, Alice Diop, Audrey Diwan, Julia Ducournau, Eva Husson, Alice Winocour, Rebecca Zlotowski, Jacques Audiard, Nicolas Bedos, Bertrand Bonello, and Dany Boon were among the signatories, as well as Cannes delegate general Thierry Frémaux.
IndieWire recently spoke with Isabelle Huppert here.
Earlier this year, Iranian filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad were arrested for posting statements on social media speaking out on government-sanctioned violence.