Friday, September 5, 2014

THE VOICES: Director Profile: Marjane Satrapi

This one time Marjane Satrapi wore army pants and flip flops so we bought army pants and flip flops. 

Marjane Satrapi is probably one of the coolest people we know. She's a prolific director and author, having put her own life to ink and paper in the award winning Persepolis graphic novel series, which was later turned into an equally award winning animated film. She's strong, opinionated, and tells it like it is. Basically, she's a bona fide bad ass (BFBA for short). Her animated films have an incredible vision and voice and those qualities are just as present in her first solo-directed, all live action film, The Voices.

If you aren't familiar with Persepolis at all, stop everything and go fix that. Seriously. Why are you still reading this blog?! You have an entire series of graphic novels and a film to watch. YOU DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS NONSENSE. 

Persepolis chronicles Marjane's life in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution, first as a young girl in Iran, and then as a teenager living in Vienna and returning to Iran. In France, the book was published in four parts but the English translation ran as two books. And a few years later, Satrapi and her co-director Vincent Paronnaud were debuting the film adaption at the little nothing film festival you probably haven't heart of: Cannes. (No big, no big.)

Both the comics and the film adaption have been heralded as one of the best coming-of-age stories and not only gave readers/viewers a candid glimpse into her fascinating, rebellious life, but also a similarly honest look at life in Iran and what it was to be young, Iranian woman both in Iran and abroad. This ain't your average, manufactured "young girl finding herself" film, guys; this is the real deal. The stark, mostly black and white illustrations are beautiful and unforgettable, completely drawing you into Satrapi's story.  

After Persepolis, Satrapi went on to write another graphic novel that was also adapted into an animated film: Chicken with Plums. This is the story of her great-uncle, an Iranian musician, and Satrapi weaves together a tale of love, music, heartache, and what makes life worth living. The film adaption is equally poetic and moving, with elements of stylish, theatrical live action and animation. You can read more about her inspiration for this story and the film through an awesome interview she gave with Mother Jones a couple years back.

Satrapi fans are eager to see how she takes her amazing vision and voice once again to the live action screen. And, because when you're Marjane Satrapi you don't just "make a movie" you MAKE A MOVIE so it might as well be completely bonkers. Strangely endearing sociopath? Sure. Talking cat and dog? Even better. Below, listen to Satrapi discuss making The Voices (warning: kind-of spoilers regarding the end sequence starting at 9:19): 

Are you even more in love with her than you were ten minutes ago? (If you want to fall even mooorreeee in love, listen to her Sundance Q&A where she talks about how Ryan Reynolds has kind of creepy eyes, how she's good at jokes, and other such fun tidbits.) And her thoughts on working with the animals so on point it hurts: "The dog was very easy. And the cat was a the cat you say 'sit' and he says 'fuck you'..."

Yup, sounds about right. Stop being so damn cool, Marjane Satrapi! But not actually. We need more filmmakers like her in the world. And we need more absolutely bananas films like The Voices.

The Voices is screening at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Vanguard Programme. Check out more Vanguard films on the official Festival website.

THE VOICES screening times:
Thursday, Sept 11th 9:00 PM RYERSON
Friday, Sept 12th 6:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

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