Cul de Sac, a film documenting the life of 27 year old lesbian, writer, actress and activist Kiana Firouz has been causing a bit of a stir of late, but not for the reasons you’d expect from the film industry.
What separates this film from other LGBT films released in the UK this year is that the lead actress, Kiana Firouz an out and proud lesbian, is Iranian. If her application for asylum in the UK is rejected completely by the Home Office she is almost certain to be sentenced to death in her home country.
According to Iranian law any man caught having gay sex for the second time are sentenced to the death penalty. For women, the punishment is 100 lashes on the second conviction and the the death penalty on the fourth – though to add a twist to the situation, transgender operations are financially supported by Islamic Law under a fatwa issued in 1978 by the now deceased Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Cul de Sac follows the story of Kiana (though she admits it has been dramatized slightly) as she flees from the oppression of Iran to a life which promised to provide more freedom.
Astonishingly, while the Home Office has accepted her sexuality and acknowledge the situation of homosexuality in Iran, they have nonetheless rejected her application for asylum.
Speaking to DIVA Firouz stated : “This is my last chance. Even if I were heterosexual, the movie I currently star in contains sexual scenes which, in itself, would be subject to death punishment if I return to Iran.”
And it is not just at home that holds dangers, Firouz has received hate mail from Iranian communities in the UK. Moreover, the social stigma and danger she faces was highlighted by a remark from Ali Reza Nourizadeh, the Iranian presenter of Channel One, a satellite channel, based in the U.S. and a fervent supporter of the Shah who said, “With this movie, Kiana has signed her own death warrant.”
An online petition has been started to save Kiana Firouz’s life by stopping her deportation from the UK. More details are available here: http://www.petitiononline.com/kianaf/petition.html
Trailer for the documentary is viewable here