“Persepolis”: Growing up in black and white

The nominations for the 35th annual Annie Awards were announced this morning. Never heard of the Annie Awards? They recognize the year’s best animation in several categories, from film and TV to video games and commercials.

This year’s Best Animated Feature nominees include fairly obvious choices ilke Bee Movie, Ratatouille and The Simpsons Movie. But I’m more interested in a little gem called Persepolis.

Persepolis is based on the graphic novels (essentially a memoir in two parts) by Marjane Satrapi, who grew up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi now lives and works in France, and Persepolis features the voices of two French national treasures, Catherine Deneuve and her daughter Chiara Mastroianni. If you’re not already fascinated, take a look at this stunning trailer:



Kinda makes me feel better about my own adolescence! (My best friend would have been in big trouble for her jacket covered with Michael Jackson buttons.)

I felt quite moved after watching the trailer, so I expect the film to be even more moving. Early reviews are nothing but positive — with the exception of the comments from Iranian officials, that is. Sometimes I think animation/drawing (on film or on the page) is the best way to tell a difficult story; Alison Bechdel‘s Fun Home shows that to very fine effect too.

Perespolis directors Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud were also nominated for an Annie, and the film won the Jury Prize at Cannes this year. The film opens Dec. 25 in limited release. There will also be an English version, featuring Gena Rowlands and — whew — still Deneuve and Mastroianni. But I think I prefer to hear Deneuve in her native French. (Speaking of French, DailyMotion.com has a slew of Persepolis-related clips and interviews in French.)

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