May 29, 2007
I first encountered Marjane Satrapi’s comic book memoir, Persepolis, back in 2003. The book recounts the author’s childhood in and beyond revolutionary Iran, with Satrapi’s faux-naïf illustration luring the reader into unexpectedly adult territory. Through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl we see the collective hysteria of Islamic fundamentalism and its intimate, coercive evils, contrasted with smaller, more personal, acts of rebellion. As when a pair of black market Nikes, an ABBA recording or an inch of visible hair become gestures of truly hazardous proportions. Some four years later, Persepolis has been remade as an animated film, directed by Satrapi with Vincent Paronnaud. A recent screening at Cannes, where Persepolis shared the Jury Prize, upset the Iranian authorities, prompting the obligatory accusations of “Western bias” and claims that the film is “an anti-cultural act” and “an unreal picture of the outcomes and achievements of the Islamic revolution.” Audiences will be able to decide for themselves when the film is released later this year. Though not in Iran, methinks.
More at Satrapi's blog.