Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Iran @ The Cannes Film Festival

Again, Iran is upset over an animation block-buster-to-become.

But this time around, I am not upset about any silver-screen conspiracy! There is a fundamental difference between fictitious and propagandist representation of ancient history by some Hollywood producer (in the 300), and an animation brought to screen by the writer herself.

Marjaneh Satrapi's four-volume cartoon series called Persépolis (published in 2000 by the French publisher l'Association) is made into an animation feature film. I don't know what kind of an audience the Persépolis is targeting. Her series pleased me tremendously, because she accurately described every single experience that I had, growing up under almost identical circumstances. It is the simplicity of her expression and the honesty of her realism that touches me. Would someone who hasn't lived that kind of a life enjoy the comics as much as I did? I don't know.

I hear that Persépolis is a contender for the Palme D'Or in the 60th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. Does this nomination reflects Satrapi's and Vincent Paronnaud's (a couple of lovely geeks) success in animation of her story; or does it hinge on the current political relevance of the motif? Or is it just Cannes' almost two-decade-long fascination with anything Iranian--as long as it is miserable enough to be true to "realism"?!

I do not know!

However, Persépolis is not the only Iran-related film at the Cannes this year.

Abbas Kiarostami (the darling of the Cannes, who has recently moved most of his operation under the French umbrella , and has stopped winning the Cannes' prizes) was present among 35 of the world's most famous directors with a 3-minutes short for the A chacun son cinéma, an episodic film comprised of 3-mins works of Cannes-winners such as Wim Wenders, Lars Von Trier, Gus Van Sant, Wong Kar Wai, and Roman Polanski.

Also, Tahmineh Milani is present with a short break from her usual feminist themes.

Interestingly enough, I heard Milani's favorite actress Niki Karimi is on the jury of Cinéfondation and short films.

But over all, Iranian presence at the Cannes has been fading over the past two years.

Is it because the Cannes doesn't accept the films of Ahmadinejad reign, or is it because the better filmmakers of Iran are facing increasing difficulty in finishing their films with a masterpiece quality? Or maybe the increasingly bourgeois-cinema of Iran is not appealing to the spiritualists who discovered the Cinema of the 90s in Iran's version of neo-realism?

No accurate reports, yet! This needs scholarly investigation though.

The credit for this post goes to the grumpy anonymous visitor of this blog :)


Sophia said...

I have seen some of Satrapi's comics and liked them very much. Sheis hugely popular in France and, along with her talent and the actual political context, stands a good chance of winning, which I wish her very much. We need more Satrapis in our lives.

Naj said...

She is indeed talented; and has good intentions too.
Some do politics for peace, like her! Some for war, like that dutch girl who's in the neo-con system now; forgot her name: Ayyan Hirsi?

David said...

I have seen some of Marjaneh Satrapi's cartoons. I think it is great that a there is now a movie of her work! I wonder if her film will be available in the U.S.?

In an unrelated note, I am on a mailing list for interesting articles about Iran. Today I received one about a California style pizza restaurant in Tehran. The food there looks really good! Here is a link:



Naj said...


Actually I as going to prepare a post about food. I had this vain idea of cooking some of the dishes my mother made when I was around this time!

I discovered Pizza Modabber this time, in some dark corner of yussef-abaad; makes great pan-pizza! The Indian topping was very yummy, especially if you have the leftovers for breakfast!

But I have a major problem with Iranian-made californian steaks or Italian pasta/pizzas: they are fused with "wrong" spices, and they are overcooked; the steaks I mean!
Also, because you can't use alcohol, you can really not do proper stews!

In Iran, one must stick to chelo-kabaab! Or go to Hani Retsaurant; an absolutely yummy buffet/take out/sit and eat without ambiance kind of a place!(Although I tried an Indian restaurant that wasn't too shabby; but not really Indian: Basmati rice and BUTTER; and salty lasse with mint!!!)

Travellers to Iran must experince
- Dizee
- Haleem
- kashk-o-bademjan
- Albaloo-polo with mahiche or morgh
- actually whatever-polo with chicken or lamb

aaand kabaab-e koobideh; which I can eat day in and day out!

Now off to a salami-pesto-brie sandwich!

Anna said...

Yes, california style pizza or anykind of burgers always seem to be an unmistakable sign, that „up-to-date“ gastronomic culture too is on the advance. I never forget the opening of a McDonalds at Moscew’s Pushkin-Place in 1989 with some hundred meters of people standing in line. For this modern style of Kofte, 8 rubels per piece, at a time when 1 kg meet would cost 4 rubels. But of course the curiosity was quite understandable!

Persian kitchen I consider to be just marvellous and above all very healthy. I love it very much, and quite a time since I use to cook and serve it to my guests (and with a smaller variety also for my self) ... not with regular astonishment and compliments!

David said...

Naj, I'm glad you were amused by the pizza story. :) I have been hearing a lot about the famous Iranian kabaabs for the past several years. I hope I can try them some day! Mmmm, salami sounds good too. :)

Hi Anna, its really amazing that such a long line of people would wait for a McDonalds to open in Moscow! I suppose that is a testament to how deprived Russian people had been of so many things that Americans take for granted.

Naj said...

David, you haven't had Iranian Kebaabs? no good friend, no good :))

Re. McDonald: Mind you it is not the QUALITY of the golden archs that's a blessing; that institution feeds its logo as "the all American" (dream?)

Anonymous said...

beautiful image of Tehran at sunset... nice selection Naj...