Exiled Iranian Zar Amir Ebrahimi wins best actress at Cannes

Exiled Iranian Zar Amir Ebrahimi wins best actress at Cannes

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Ms. Ebrahimi, 41, won for “Holy Spider”, in which she plays a journalist trying to solve the serial murders of prostitutes in the holy city of Mashhad.

Ms. Ebrahimi, 41, won for “Holy Spider”, in which she plays a journalist trying to solve the serial murders of prostitutes in the holy city of Mashhad.

Iranian Zar Amir Ebrahimi, who lives in exile following a smear campaign about her love life, wept with joy as she won the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.

Ms. Ebrahimi, 41, won for “Holy Spider”, in which she plays a journalist trying to solve the serial murders of prostitutes in the holy city of Mashhad.

“I have come a long way to be on this stage tonight. It was not an easy story,” she told the audience at the awards ceremony.

She said she had been “saved by cinema”.

“It was humiliation but there was cinema, it was solitude but there was cinema, it was darkness but there was cinema. Now I’m standing in front of you on a night of joy.”

“Holy Spider”, directed by Danish-Iranian Ali Abbasi, is inspired by the true story of a working-class man who killed prostitutes in the early 2000s and became known as the “Spider Killer”.

Abbasi was denied permission to film in Iran and it was ultimately shot in Jordan.

Ebrahimi became a star in Iran in her early twenties for her supporting role in one of its longest-running soap operas, “Nargess”.

But her life and career fell apart shortly after the show ended, when a sex tape was leaked online in 2006 which, it was claimed, featured her.

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