Persepolis Hits the Red Carpet

Persepolis Movie posterJust what we’ve all been waiting for: the animated version of Persepolis is being screened at Cannes this week, and that means it should get a general release later this year. There are some great trailers on Satrapi’s MySpace page that include some pretty sweet air guitar and “Eye of the Tiger” renderings by the protagonist. As we mentioned in our Chicken with Plums review, there was a great article on Satrapi in the Independent last year, and more recently, a really good article about Satrapi in the NYT in January (behind the great wall, unfortunately), that has a lot of details about the production, including this bit:

Persepolis with smoke

The voices were recorded before the animators began work, with Ms. Satrapi coaching the actors one on one. (Aghast at the prospect of bossing Ms. Deneuve around, she said, she downed three cognacs before directing the actress, who turned out to be ”funny and intelligent and a big smoker.”) Ms. Satrapi allowed herself to be recorded while acting out the physical gestures for each scene, to give the animation team a physical reference.

”We could do any number of movements to coordinate with the words,” said Christian Desmares, the chief animator, ”but Marjane wanted to really personalize each character, to use precise Iranian gestures. And we don’t know how to do that.”

Ms. Satrapi interjected: ”I play all the roles. Even the dog.”

Persepolis prison sceneThe stills from the movie posted to the official website suggest an interesting mix of styles, with the characters drawn faithfully in the mold of the original comics, and the settings and backgrounds done in a more ‘realistic’ mode, perhaps to give the action some dimensionality to move around in. The look it produces seems almost like a visual joke about bringing cartoons into live action films (à la Spiderman, etc.).

Chapati Review: Chicken with Plums

Even the dustjacket is sublime

Chicken with Plums, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books, 2006), $16.95.

5chapatis.jpg

_____________________________________________________________

The heartless Irane

Gadzooks! Every time you turn around these days there’s a new Marjane Satrape graphic novel for sale. The graphic novel translator’s league must be burning the midnight oil at HQ in the North Pole churning out translations of our favorite French cartoonists in English, Spanish, Italian and God knows what other exotic languages. I was confident that I would adore Chicken with Plums before I had even picked it up off the display in the comic book store, as I am an ardent fan of all Satrapi literature. I probably would have given the book five chapatis whether or not I liked it, just because I haven’t written reviews of her other books and they all deserve five hot buttery chapatis. I was not disappointed, however, as this novel is most excellent and should be read by one and all. Its only shortcoming is its length, which is short, affording the reader far too little time in the gracious ambience of Satrapi literature. Continue reading Chapati Review: Chicken with Plums

g∞g∞sh

GoogooshWas I the last person to find out that the Iranian pop diva Googoosh is making a comeback and living in the United States and Canada now? I have painted her portrait in honor of this exciting news. There are all sorts of delectable websites devoted to Googoosh, including her own, official site, and Googoosh TV which includes loads of MP3s.

I first learned about Googoosh about six years ago, when I saw a terrible documentary about her. The film was focused on post-Revolution suppression of her voice and, more importantly, the filmmaker’s obsession with Googoosh as an absent presence and a pop icon. He was unable to or not allowed to interview Googoosh for the film, so the whole thing ends up being about her absence and her silence, only not in a way that could be described as interesting or artistic. The overall effort reminded me of a translation of a Marathi short story I read years ago by Vilas Sarang, in which a historian takes a tape recorder around to all the Indian monuments and ‘records the silences’ of the historical sites. Continue reading g∞g∞sh