Persepolis will certainly be a breakthrough from many often depressing or over intellectual roles in which she has been typecast to date. She is a singer and wife of French singer/composer Benjamin Biolay.
French Armenian actor Simon Akbarian is a familiar face to movie buffs, for his supporting roles often as a villain as in the latest James Bond Casino Royale opposite Daniel Craig. And his filmography is strongly influenced by his roots as in films like Canadian Atom Egoyan's Ararat about the Armenian Genocide but seen through the eyes of a modern film crew. More recently he played lead in Sally Potter’s YES, a romantic drama about immigration and racial prejudice. The film is luminous, elegant, ravishingly beautiful, and subtly erotic.
Most probably Marjane Satrapi's most interesting cinephilic choice has been to cast French Cinema Living Legend Danielle Darrieux. The 90 year old is star of such great films as Joseph L. Mankiewicz's “5 Fingers” aka Cicero Affaire as well as many films directed by Max Ophuls (Roundabout and House of Pleasure). Her career has spanned over the past century and she has shared the screen opposite great French and Hollywood stars like James Mason, Errol Flynn, Richard Burton, Charles Boyer and Gerard Philippe. Interestingly she also was cast as Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias decades before Angelina Jolie in Robert Rossen's much more accurate depiction of the Macedonian Conqueror. Interesting irony to see her play a major protagonist in Satrapi's Persepolis.
Maybe that is the Magic of Art after all and ultimately its true duty: To bridge cultures and people beyond Man made frontiers be they political, social, sexual, ideological, or religious. It is all the more respectable when it resonates with so many people all over the world as has been the case for Persepolis. I would also dare and add that Persepolis today and maybe more so now that it came out as a feature animated film, no longer truly belongs to its author and creator. Once you give birth to such a highly acclaimed work of Art, that has been translated in dozens of languages, taught in hundreds of Universities across the US and even at WestPoint as a case study to Middle East psychology and sociology, one can only ponder at the phenomena with admiration. Very much like J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Satrapi’s Persepolis belongs to our collective memory. We can Love it or Hate it but we certainly cannot be indifferent to the adventures of the proud Iranian girl with the cute “Khal” (*) on her nose.
VIVE LE CINEMA!
(*) A birthmark she shares with Chiara Mastroianni also known for a similar one on her chin.
Satrapi's Persepolis wins 'Prix du Jury' at Cannes by Darius KADIVAR
Satrapi Launches Official Website & Production Blog by Darius KADIVAR
Persepolis Runs In Cannes Palme D'or Selection 2007 by Darius KADIVAR
Iranian Pioneers in French New Wave Cinema by Darius KADIVAR
Anicée (ALVINA) Shahmanesh: France's Sex Icon of the 1970's by Darius KADIVAR
The Last Colony: Interview with director Parvin Ansary by Brian Appleton
YouTube 20 minutes Standing Ovation for Persepolis at Cannes after first screening.
Photo 1: Magic in the Making: Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi make their Dream come true in a French Production on an Iranian Story © imdb.com & photocomposition DK © imdb.com & photocomposition DK
Photo 2: The Daughter: Marjane aka Chiara Mastroianni an inherited beauty ©Paris Match & imdb.com
Photo 3: The Mother: Catherine Deneuve, the ultimate French Star combines a touch of class and humanity necessary to her role ©imdb.com & Iranian.com
Photo 4: A great fan of Italian Cinema, Satrapi’s choice of Chiara may not be entirely a coincidence. Marcello Mastroianni was égerie and the onscreen alter ego to Italian film maestro Federico Fellini. ©imdb.com
Photo 5: The Father: Simon Akbarian filmography is influenced by his French-Armenian roots, but he was also cast as a villain in the latest James Bond Casino Royale ©imdb.com
Photo 6: The Grandma: Danielle Darrieux, a living legend in Film History. She also played Alexander the Great’s mother Olympias in Robert Rossen’s 1956 epic ©imdb.com
Photo 7: The Family ©Cannes International Film Festival