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
The announcment of the Prix du Jury
aka Jury Prize at the 60th annual of the International Cannes Film
Festival on the 27th of May, 2007 will probably remain in the heart
and minds of Marjane Satrapi and her co-director Vincent Paronnaud for
many years to come as the accomplishment of two years of hard and strenuous
work. If her animated movie did not earn the Palme D'Or, it was nevertheless an
acknowledgment far beyond her expectations by the most Prestigious film Festival
in the World and its Jury of professionals. Indeed rarely has any animated film
been selected and even less Awarded at
The Daughter: Marjane aka Chiara Mastroianni an inherited beauty
©Paris Match & imdb.com
Satrapi confessed in a recent interview that her choice for Deneuve was not entirely innocent: "There are two Major French Stars that Iranians Love: Alain Delon and Catherine Deneuve". The rebellious Iranian girl who grew up identifying herself with Bruce Lee rather than the Romantic Star of such film classics like Jacques Demy's musical "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg", or Terrence Young Mayerling would certainly have been seduced by the more controversial yet sophisticated portrayals in such films as François Truffaut's Dernier Metro set in WWII occupied France, Roman Polanski's Horror Thriller Repulsion, or Luis Buñuel's surrealist erotic drama Belle de Jour ( script written by the great Jean Claude Carriere: See my article ). Despite her striking familiar looks to Hollywood Star Grace Kelly, Deneuve is more probably the Female French version of Cary Grant. As shocking an assessment, I maintain this. She can equally play in classy thrillers in the lines of a genre defined by Alfred Hitchcock as in Alain Corneau's Le Choix des Armes , yet equally demonstrate an onscreen fragility in films like Place Vendome under the direction of Nicole Garcia. Why the comparison with Cary Grant ? Well very much like Grant, she is unpredictable in her film choices going from drama, to historical epics and even Comedy ( in which I personally think she is truly the best ) where she often mocks her own sophisticated onscreen persona in such films like François Ozon's 8 femmes, Jean Paul Rappenau's Le Sauvage , Philippe Le Broca's L'Africain or more recently in a hilarious comedy Palais Royal a French Comic Spoof on European Royalty directed by French Comic Valérie Lemercier.
The Mother: Catherine Deneuve, the ultimate
French Star combines a touch of class and
humanity necessary to her role
©imdb.com & Iranian.com
Very much like Cary Grant, she also entertained a certain onscreen sexual ambiguity as in films like Ozon's 8 femmes or in André Techiné's Les Voleurs or as the Lesbian Vampire opposite David Bowie in The Hunger . Ironic but bold choices for an actress who is anything but gay, and is the quintessential icon of French Feminity Worldwide. A happy irony also that her offspring is no other than the beautiful actress Chiara Mastroianni daughter of her relationship with Italian Heart throb Marcello Mastroianni. Chiara was born amidst the release of a movie meant to be a Franco-Italian Farce entitled "A Slightly Pregnant Man" with Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni in the title roles. The film has in itself some "Felliniesque" aura that would certainly please and strike the imagination of Satrapi. Indeed the movie was a comedy about a Man ( played by Marcello) who discovers he is Pregnant to his wife (played by Deneuve) .... Needless to say the movie was a Huge Scandal for its time ( early 70's) but contributed to sealing a life long relationship between the two Stars. Eversince her performance in the Oscar Awarding film Indochine in 1992 Deneuve has appeared as a mentor to new talents. Interestingly prior to Marjane Satrapi she also brought to the limelight another young talent Singer/actress Bjork the 2000 Cannes Palme D'Or film Dancer in the Dark directed by Lars Von Trier.
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
Marcello Mastroianni has entered film History with his immortal scene in the Trevi Fountain opposite Anita Ekberg in Fellini's masterpiece La Dolce Vita which won the Cannes Palm d'Or of 1960 and an Oscar Award and 3 Oscar category nomination's that year. Mastroianni was the sulphurous onscreen alter ego to Fellini in several other highly acclaimed yet controversial at the time of their release: 8 ½ directed by Fellini, La Grande Bouffe by Marco Ferreri, and Ettore Scola's Una Giornata particolare opposite Sophia Loren which confirmed both actors for their performances at the pinnacle of Italian Cinema of the late 70's. Sadly the death of Mastroianni in the mid 90's from pancreatic cancer, three years after his great Master Fellini marked the end of a glorious chapter in Italian Cinema that has never quite recovered since ...
Chiara Mastroianni, has certainly
inherited the beauty and talent of her parents. She managed to overcome the
burden of a famous name to draw her own personal path and become the égerie of
the French Cinema d'Auteurs of the 1990's and this decade. With often bold roles
in phase with the preoccupations of her generation in such films like Le Journal
d'un Seducteur or N'Oublie Pas
Que Tu Va Mourir. Marjane Satrapi's
The Father: Simon Akbarian filmography is influenced by his
French-Armenian roots, but he was also cast as a villain in the
French Armenian actor Simon Akbarian is a familiar face to movie buffs, for his supporting roles often cast as a villian like in the latest James Bond vehicle Casino Royale opposite Daniel Craig. And his filmography is strongly influenced by his roots as in films like Canadian Atom Egoyan's film Ararat a very interesting film about the Armenian Genocide but seen through the eyes of a modern film crew. More recently he played in the lead role of director Sally Potter in a film entitled YES a Romantic Drama dealing with issues on immigration and racial prejudice. The film is luminous, elegant, ravishingly beautiful, 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 Star of such great films as Joseph L.
Fingers" aka Cicero Affaire as well as many films directed by Max Ophuls
like the Roundabout and House of Pleasure or the first film version of erotic
novel Lady Chatterly. Her career has spanned over the past century and she has
shared the screen opposite such great French and Hollywood Stars as 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
Maybe that is the Magic of Art after all and ultimately its true duty: To bridge cultures and people beyond Man made frontiers be them 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
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
Excellent interview and Great Photos of Iranian filmmaker Parvin Ansary with Italian Stars of 50's and 60's.
The Last Colony : An interview with Film director Parvin Ansary by Brian Appleton (Iranian.com)
Recommended Viewing :
Rare images on you tube of the 20 minutes Standing Ovation for Persepolis at Cannes after first screening.
About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a freelance journalist and Film Historian born to an Iranian father and French mother. He works and lives in
... Payvand News - 6/28/07 ... --