Persepolis’ Road to the Oscars

Persepolis Wins Grand Jury Prize at French Italian Film Festival 2007 in Florence Italy amidst Protest from Iran’s government.

Nothing seems to stop Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s French Production Persepolis on its road to success. at the upcoming 2007 Oscars®, and Representing France in this category. After gaining critical and Box Office Success in France through a Jury Prize at Cannes and , Marjane Satrapi’s screen adaptation of her best-selling comic book have reached a well deserved cult status worldwide. Even if it is too soon to predict the movie’s chances at the Oscars® since the official list of contenders will only be revealed in early January, one can already say that the movie and its co-directors have largely achieved their goals in turning their joint collaboration into a visual animated masterpiece. This is also a victory for an Art form, the Animated movie, which is often unjustly deemed as inferior to live action feature films and which has been largely snubbed in the past by film critics in general. This is certainly not the case for Persepolis which was hailed at the Cannes Film Festival this year with a Standing Ovation that lasted more than 20 minutes for the cast and crew composed of legendary film stars like Danielle Darrieux and Catherine Deneuve as well as popular film Stars as Deneuve’s daughter Chiara Mastroianni and French Armenian Simon Akbarian. The film will be casting Sean Penn, Iggy Pop and Gena Rowlands in the title roles with the same mother and daughter duo Deneuve- Mastroianni. It got raving reviews at the New York International Film Festival last October which augurs a good reception from the North American audience that will get to see the film in upcoming December. Now the film has been awarded with the Grand Jury Prize at the 22nd French Film Festival in Florence Italy aimed at Promoting French productions in Italy and strengthen ties with the Latin film industry and community.

The autobiographical story of author Marjane Satrapi about her upbringing in Iran shortly in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, amidst the bloody Iran-Iraq war and followed by her life in self exile in Europe is due on Italian screens in January 2007. Persepolis was in competition with Claude Lelouch’s “Roman de gare” , Volker Schlöndorff’s “Neuvième Jour” ( French German Co-Production) and Claude Miller’s “Un Secret” ( all latter three of whom are highly regarded directors in France). The 22nd edition of this film festival was dedicated to a tribute to the late Louis Malle with a retrospective of twenty of his films. French Stars , screenwriter , German director Volker Schlöndorff and film critic Philippe participated to a conference on Louis Malle. Not Surprisingly Persepolis was once again targeted by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s representative, the infamous Mehdi Kalhor who had already criticized the Cannes Film Festival’s choice for awarding Persepolis with the Jury Prize. He reiterated his harsh critics once again calling the film Islamophobic and an Insult to Iranians. An Odd reaction towards a film that was dedicated to all Iranians by the co-directors and defended as a humanistic film which calls for a peaceful dialogue and mutual tolerance between the West and Iran. An argument which seems not to have convinced the cultural advisor of Iran’s controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Refusing to enter a debate on this issue ( or rather respond to the Iranian governments provocations), Satrapi however expressed her views regarding the critics from Iran regarding her film at the New York film Festival ( see Youtube) claiming that her film is on the contrary expressing empathy and love for Iranians in general and aimed at delivering a universal and humanistic message to the viewers.

Regardless of Iran’s protests that to date have only managed to pressure the Bangkok International Film Festival, nothing seems to stop Persepolis on its road to success and critical admiration for it is first and foremost a great film experience and eye opening view on the realities of a country which is torn between extremists from all sides be it by the current Islamic Republic’s leadership or by a war mongering US administration.

That however won’t stop Persepolis to make its way into Iranian households especially since the film is due on DVD in France this coming December. VIVE LE CINEMA !&VIVE PERSEPOLIS ! ;0)


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