Saturday, February 16, 2008

Persepolis and Proust

I just saw the movie Persepolis, which is based on a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi. It's a coming-of-age story narrated by a character also named Marjane Satrapi, about her childhood in Iran under the Shah, and the subsequent Islamic revolution.

The story itself possibly couldn't be less like Marcel Proust's novel -- though politics do find their way into In search of lost time, amid all the love stories and dinner parties. Still, that was the work that kept coming to mind as I was watching Persepolis. There's the eponymous narrator, of course, and also the movie is in French -- beyond that, both are about young artists trying to live creative lives in an uncooperative world. And both are ultimately success stories, the proof of which is their very existence.

The form of a graphic novel turned into a movie -- which I'd never seen done quite like this -- really propelled the story. The subjective reality of Marji comes out more directly and immediately than it could in live action. In one scene, she has just broken up with her boyfriend after catching him cheating on her. As she re-imagines the history of their relationship, we see the same scenes we just watched, redrawn -- meeting at a party, him driving her home, etc. -- but where before they were idyllic and joyful, they've now been transformed to show all his ugly qualities. It's a brilliant way of dramatizing the reversals of perception and memory, and one of which Proust would have completely approved.


Ed Squires said...

Hey man, After reading and loving your blog for about a year I finally decided to start one, It will be nowhere near as enjoyable or informative as yours but hopefully someone will enjoy!

Ed Squires said...

Please do man, Ill do the same

Say hi to Dave Reid and Trish for me, they spent some time in Newfoundland while i was doing my undergrad!