×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Actress Golshifteh Farahani on Anup Singh’s ‘The Song of Scorpions’

‘You have to give yourself fully, and be ready to die for any part you are playing,’ the actress says

Golshifteh Farahani is the protagonist of Anup Singh’s third feature, “The Song of Scorpions,” and the film, world premiering at Locarno, is another stepping stone for an actress who keeps on challenging herself. In the film, Farahani’s character Nooran lives in India’s Rajasthan desert, training to heal scorpion bites with her songs, until tragedy envelops her. The Iranian actress, now based in France, sat down with Variety to talk about embracing a new language and culture, and how, having been forced to leave Iran, she finds comfort in the discomfort of exploring her own limits with each role.

What attracted you to this role, or to the director?

I met Anup (Singh) after I saw “Qissa.” I thought he was one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met. He’s a poet, he’s an incredibly sensitive and wonderful artist, and he has something magical about him. His attention to – and knowledge of – women is quite incredible. I think finding male directors that understand the deep corners of the structures of women’s minds are rare. When he talked to me about the project, how he had dreamt of it and then wrote it in one night, I knew I just had to do it.

How was your experience preparing for this film, considering it was a new language, culture and country for you?

I have acted in seven languages, so it is funny now to be familiar with performing in languages that aren’t my mother tongue. First, I worked for six months on the language, to be able to speak the dialogue. Language is a very difficult challenge, especially when you are a perfectionist. And as a musician myself, I wanted this aspect to sound perfect. Then we went to India and I went to the desert, just being in the environment and seeing the women, how they walk and talk. Rough, but at the same time fragile.

This is a film about a singer: Can you explain your relationship with music?

In a funny way, music is following me like a shadow, even in cinema, and it has helped me a lot in every aspect of my life. Music is like a little butterfly that jumps from one flower to another, and I just keep following. If there is a heaven, it would be flowers and music.

When you are taking on a role in which the character undergoes so much pain and anguish? How do you separate yourself from the character?
Sometimes you can separate yourself from the character, and sometimes you can’t. The character’s curse can capture you and you’re a prisoner of the pain they’re experiencing. I’m not a method actor. I don’t bring my characters back home, but a character’s feelings and sensations can stick to your skin, or sometimes they come back on your body, or as a sickness. In this project, I had breakouts of extreme hives, which has never happened before. My character’s pressure, her trauma was coming out of me. As an actor, you need help from the universe to be able to not fall into drugs, and to not commit suicide. You need care.

You’ve been working on films in many different locations, languages and cultures? Why is this?

The reason I work in cinema is the message that the cinema is carrying. These scripts come to me and they are stories that need to be told. Of course, it is killing me. I love pushing myself to the edges to challenge myself and see if I can manage things that seem impossible. Whatever seems impossible, I have to make it possible. The most important thing is that you have to give yourself fully, and be ready to die for any part you are playing.

How do you balance all of these projects you are undertaking, in film and otherwise?
Through chaos. I find balance in work. I find comfort in the complete discomfort of working. but my mecca of joy is what I do, and I’m committed entirely to it. I’ve lost my country, I’ve lost my comfort, my family, almost everything because of this work. That is what it is, it’s me.

More Film

  • Sygeplejeskolen sc 205

    Claudia Boderke, Lars Mering Talk ‘The New Nurses,’ Gender, Class

    The inevitable comparison for SF Studios’ “The New Nurses,” at least from a Danish broadcast perspective, is “Something’s Rockin,’” another 2018 TV 2 Charlie show which was retro but forward-looking. “Something’s Rockin’” described the birth of an independent radio with culture in Denmark. Produced by SF Studios’ Senia Dremstrup (“Norskov”),  “The New Nurses” talks cleverly [...]

  • Robert Redford

    Robert Redford to Receive Honorary Cesar Award

    Legendary American actor and director Robert Redford is set to receive an honorary Cesar award, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, at the 44th annual César ceremony, which will take place on Feb. 22 in Paris. “An iconic actor, an exceptional director, a passionate producer, founder and president of Sundance, the most revered festival of independent [...]

  • Goteborg: Co-writer Hakan Lindhe on Viaplay’s

    Co-Writer Hakan Lindhe on Politics, Image in Viaplay’s ‘The Inner Circle’

    David Ehrling, Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise, who is tipped to be its next Prime Minister, spends a lot of the time in Sweden’s “The Inner Circle” not preparing his speeches, or in impassioned discussion of key political issues, but staring into the mirror, rain checking on his strong-jawed image. He spends much of his enterprise, [...]

  • 'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit On His

    'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit on his Socially-Minded Smash

    PARIS —  Far from a dumping ground, the months of January and February have become synonymous in France with the kinds of highly polished crowd-pleasing comedies that dominate the annual box-office. This year is no exception, only nestled among the likely blockbusters “Serial Bad Weddings 2” and “City Hunter” is Louis-Julien Petit’s socially minded dramedy [...]

  • "The Continent," directed by Chinese racer

    Alibaba Pictures Buys Into Chinese Director Han Han's Film Studio

    Alibaba Pictures confirmed that it has invested an undisclosed amount in Chinese celebrity blogger-turned-film director Han Han’s Shanghai Tingdong Film. Han’s upcoming “Pegasus” is one of the most anticipated films of the year in China. Alibaba Pictures, part of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is now the second-largest stakeholder in Tingdong. It has a 13.1% stake, according to Chinese [...]

  • Nicolas Philibert Talks Nursing Documentary 'Each

    Nicolas Philibert: 'A Director Driven To Make A Statement Cannot Make Cinema'

    PARIS  — For over two decades, French documentarian Nicolas Philibert has examined his country’s various public institutions with a watchmaker’s calm and anthropologist’s curiosity. In films like “To Be and To Have,” “La Maison de la Radio” and “Louvre City,” he’s taken his camera into schoolhouses, broadcast hubs and the world’s most famous museum. His [...]

  • 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Film Review: 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Cinematographer-turned-director Bruce Thierry Cheung offers an artful and affecting mix of harshly defined specifics and impressionistic storytelling in “Don’t Come Back from the Moon,” a cumulatively poignant drama about absent fathers and abandoned families in an economically devastated desert community. Structured more like a tone poem than a conventional narrative, it’s an elliptical memory play [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content