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Movie Natters: December 4, 2007 Archive

Marjane Satrapi's world record ambition

Posted at 6:15 PM on December 4, 2007 by Euan Kerr (1 Comments)

Marjane Satrapi is a kick. The author of "Persepolis," the graphic novel which tells the story of her life growing up in Iran during the last days of the Shah's reign and the early days of the Islamic Revolution, was in town to talk about the animated version of her story.

She stresses that a graphic novel should not be seen as a storyboard for a film.

"When you read a comic book, you as the reader, you are very active, because the movement between two frames (of a comic,) you have to do it yourself. Making a movie, a viewer is absolutely passive. They are here on and a half hours, so you have to think of absolutely everything. You cannot lean on your viewer. When you make a comic you can actually lean on the reader to make the work for you," she says.

Working with her friend Vincent Parronaud, she set out to make a film, even though she had no animation experience, and he had made only two shorts, totaling about 10 minutes.

Satrapi says she thinks that works to the film's advantage.

They had to strip down the story and re-imagine it, while also remaining loyal to the simple black and white pen and ink drawings she used for the original story. She says they surrounded themselves with people who knew the business and learned the tricks of the trade from them as they tried to make the film

"The book and the movie are very similar and at the same time they are extremely different," she says. She says she thinks the film is ok. The judges at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival thought it was more than OK, awarding it the Grand Jury prize.

The film will be released in the US at Christmas, and will open in Minnesota in mid-January. The film is in French, with Catherine Deneuve as one of the voices. But Satrapi says she's been working on an English language version too, also with Deneuve, and Sean Penn and Iggy Pop as additional voices.

When asked what she wants to do next, Satrapi says she wants to, rest, play some ping-pong, write more comics, make more films, paint again, and one other thing.

"I want to become the world champion of smokers, so I have to work on that," she laughs.

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