Based on Iranian illustrator Marjane Satrapi’s acclaimed graphic novels Persepolis and Persepolis 2, the film unfolds as a flashback, the quiet color of the uncertain present giving way to the graphic boldness of black-and-white memory. The narrator shares the experience of coming of age in Iran in the wake of the Islamic revolution. At the same time she leads us through her developing perspective as she grows up from little Marji - a girl who adores Bruce Lee and rocks out to Iron Maiden - to empowered young woman Marjane.
The graphic novel Persepolis was the book selection of the VCUQatar School-Wide Reading Program last fall. Each semester a different book is chosen and all administrators, faculty, and students read the book. Many of the English-reading staff enjoy the books as well and take them home for their older children. As part of this program last semester the entire graphic design full-time faculty participated in a well-attended question and answer panel session on the novel Persepolis for the university. “The animators of the film, under the direction of the novel’s creator, Ms. Satrapi, based all their drawings on her book illustrations, so watching the film is in a sense another way, and an accessible one, to approach her art in the book,” says Robin Fetherston, Assistant Professor, English at VCUQatar.
Award-winning filmmaker Tim Wilkerson will present the introduction which will focus on the aesthetics, style, technique and content of the film. He says “Persepolis represents a confluence of traditional and modern techniques in animation. The filmmakers brought back the early method of sketching each frame on paper using pencil and ink and then transferred the images to computers where they worked on shading. This combination sets the film apart from other contemporary animations.”
Mr. Wilkerson is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at VCUQatar. He is the recipient of the prestigious Jacob K. Jarvits Fellowship and has studied Egyptian culture and cinema as a Fulbright Scholar in Cairo. His works have aired on PBS and won numerous awards, including the D.C. Independent Film Festival Audience Award and more recently the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Award. Al Jazeera will be screening his documentary, Oracles of Pennsylvania Avenue later this year.
Persepolis will be shown in the Atrium at VCUQatar on 12 February at 7:00 PM. The viewing is open to the public. The film is rated PG-13.