2 November 2010 Persepolis by Satrapi – an animated attempt to become reconciled with traumas of the past

On the first day of the Conrad Festival, we invite you to a film journey with Marjane Satrapi – an Iranian-French writer who is adored by readers worldwide. At 10.00 p.m., in the Pod Baranami Cinema, you will have an opportunity to see Persepolis – a popular French full-length animated film directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud in 2007. The audience will be introduced to the climate of the show by Marjane Satrapi herself, who will announce the film personally. All of the writer’s fans are also invited to an open meeting of the audience with Marjane Satrapi, which will take place tomorrow at 6.00 p.m. in the International Centre for Culture (Rynek Główny 25).

The film Persepolis was created on the basis of an autobiographical graphic novel written by Satrapi under the same title. Work on the animation began in October 2005 and ended in April 2007. The world premiere took place at the Cannes Festival in 2007 and was an important event in France. The film was nominated for many awards, including the Oscar and the awards of the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma. On 2 November (Tuesday) Persepolis can be seen in Krakow at the 2nd Conrad Festival. The introduction to this unusual animated story will be delivered by Satrapi herself.

The screen version of this autobiographical comic-strip novel, which has already become a cult item, represents the genre which can rarely be seen in Polish cinemas – the full-length animated film. The author managed to present complex relations between private life and politics by means of simple cartoons, which are slightly schematic, but – on the other hand – more conspicuous. This black-and-white, but paradoxically multicoloured film teems with emotions, sensations, fear and rebellion – everything that is connected with the maturing time.

Both the comic book and the animated film are an unusual intimate confession on one hand and a picture of the epoch on the other hand. The greatest strength of this film lies in the tension between the subjective history seen with the eyes of a little girl, a teenager and then a young woman and the big history which intrudes on the life of an individual. However, it contains no anger – instead, there is melancholy, nostalgia and a good deal of humour and saving distance. But, first of all, the film is a praise of freedom and, at the same time, a reflection on the price that is paid for it.

“By means of this book and this film, Satrapi tries to become reconciled with traumas of the past and, paradoxically, with her homeland, too,” wrote Anita Piotrowska in the article Kobiety Orientu odsłaniają twarze (The Women of the Orient Unveil Their Faces) in Tygodnik Powszechny. Further we read: “Marjane cannot find a place for herself in the country of ayatollahs. But Europe, where she lives a wealthy and comfortable life today as an accomplished artist and woman, will never be her true home, either. What remains, is the myth – and a memory of many happy moments spent among loving and internally free people. This other world is personified in the film by an extremely picturesque character – Marjane’s grandmother, who has a very unconventional outlook on life and always wear jasmine petals in her bra, so that hypnotic aromas could surround her even at a very old age”.