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Look out for more coverage of
Persepolis in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Persepolis

(voices) Chiara Mastronianni • Catherine Deneuve • Danielle Darrieux
DIRECTOR: Marjane Satrapi/Vincent Paronnaud

Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi THE CONCEPT:
Based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, the story of her childhood during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, where she outsmarts the fundamentalists by discovering punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden. When the Iran/Iraq War starts, she is sent to Austria, enduring the typical ordeals of a teenager. Horribly homesick, she puts her veil on again and returns to the tyrannical society she fled. But when sheís 24 she realizes she cannot live in Iran any longer and makes the heartbreaking decision to move to France.

U.S. RELEASE: December 25 2007, Limited
• Rated: PG-13


ďItís not a documentary about my life. From the second you write a script, and then you make it into a movie, it becomes fiction, so I see it as a character, I see it from afar, not only with the story, but even with myself.Ē

ďWe knew we had to keep the energy of the novels. We couldnít be content with filming one panel after another. In fact our sources were live-action films. The usual codes in animation didnít seem to fit, so I used movie-style editing, with a great many jump-cuts. Even from an aesthetic viewpoint, we drew our sources from cinematic techniques.Ē

CHIARA MASTROIANNI (voice of Marjane as a teenager and adult):
ďI have read all four Persepolis novels and loved them. The combination of design, humor, hindsight and self-mockery, with no trace of self-indulgence or victimization was irresistible. Iíd been thinking about doing a voice in an animated feature for quite some time, so when my mother [Catherine Deneuve] mentioned Persepolis to me, I called Marjane and asked her to do a voice test.Ē

ďItís a very personal point of view. Of course, Iím not a historian, and Iím not a sociologist and Iím not a politician, but Iím a person who is born in a place in a certain time, and I have felt things, and the film is an expression of what I have felt. Thatís why I say itís not a reality show about my life, itís more about the feeling, the search of the truth, the questioning of what has happened, that is much more important to me. Iím honest when I describe myself and I donít make myself a hero. Iím honest when I say that I have been mean. I donít lie about my thinking.Ē

ďIn the beginning it was a bit stressful [playing Marjane]. I imagine it must have been strange for her too after having written the books by herself, she suddenly finds strangers interfering with her work. I could tell that certain scenes reminded her of emotional memories, and sometimes I found that interesting. Yet, I think she toned them down, both in the books and in the film.Ē

SATRAPI on the movie being Franceís official entry for the Academy Awards:
ďIím very happy, especially to be the French entry, it shows that you can be French with another background. They donít have this problem in America, because everybody comes from somewhere, but itís nice that in Europe you can have this feeling too.Ē

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Images above © Sony Classics
Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #691, January 2008 cover

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