Idol Chatter

I may not be a comic book junkie, nor have I been swept up–at least in any lasting way–into the graphic novel craze that has hit the bookshelves of late, but I couldn’t pass by “Persepolis,” Marjane Satrapi’s vivid (literally) graphic memoir of growing up in Tehran during the Islamic revolution. I was captivated by this comic strip-like portrayal of a girl from a liberal family–once free to run and play like any Western child–suddenly struggling with having to wear the hijab and with new restrictions on education for young Muslim women.

I was excited to read the New York Times’ lengthy piece, “An Animated Adventure Drawn From Life,” about bringing Satrapi’s moving story to the big screen as an animated feature, produced in France and directed by Satrapi herself. The experience of moving from the page to film has not been easy, however, the article explained:

Ms. Satrapi has drawn herself thousands of times. But she found it initially overwhelming to watch her own vivid gestures animated on computer screens in the skylighted atelier that is the film’s headquarters in the 10th Arrondissement. Eventually, she said, she learned to put emotional distance between herself and her character. “From the beginning I started to talk about ‘Marjane’ and ‘Marjane’s parents,’ ” she explained, “because you cannot do it otherwise. There are people, for example, drawing my grandmother. My grandmother is dead. Here not only is she moving, but I have to look at her, image by image.”

Though the process of animating her story and remaining true to its original images, style, and life growing up as a “girl rebel” in an strict Islamic regime has been challenging. Now that it’s finished and soon to release in France (and eventually the U.S., since they have found a distributor), Satrapi commented with embarrassed pride, “It is hard for me, for my ego, to say this: For me, the movie is better than the book.”

If you’ve somehow missed “Persepolis” the graphic memoir, go right now to your local bookstore and buy it. It’s an amazing read.

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