Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Marjane Satrapi and the Cartoon Characters That Run Iran

I'll write more on the Cannes Film Festival later in the week (though as I am not down there, there won't be a great deal to write about) but here's a brief note about the Iranian government protesting at the presence of Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis in competition: the Mullahs bleat that the film gives 'an unreal presentation of the consequences and successes of the Islamic Revolution'. Those leftists and nationalists that perished in the Islamist reign of terror in the years following the Revolution that they themselves helped bring about would beg to differ.

Tehran also claims that the festival is committing an 'anti-cultural' and politically-motivated act in showing the film, which is laughable given the Iranian Islamists' blanket censorship of thousands of films, including many of those by Iran's finest filmmakers. Thankfully Iran is not as influential as China and able to bully distributors and festivals abroad into deselecting dissident films, and what Tehran really fears is the more positive attitude towards ordinary Iranians and Iranian culture that the film will foster, thereby removing the country's bogeyman status, in turn depriving them of their own raison d'être. That Satrapi, being a good Persian leftist, has no time for Bush and the Washington neocons' plans to bomb her homeland is, of course, irrelevant to them.