Will the star power of Sean Penn lure you to see Persepolis on the big screen? How about Iggy Pop? Marjane Satrapi grew up in Iran in the 1970's and her autobiographical graphic novels provided the basis for the animated film that premiered at Cannes. Cinematical's James Rocchi described it as "a fresh, moving, out-of-the-gate masterpiece -- a work of animation that manages to be artistically brilliant, politically rich, morally engaging and emotionally overwhelming." As we all know, though, great reviews aren't enough to prompt North American moviegoers to see a (mostly) black and white cartoon about Iran voiced entirely in French. No, we don't want to read subtitles! And we want Hollywood stars!

I can concede the point about subtitles when it comes to animation, especially since Persepolis is set (mostly) in Iran. According to Variety, Satrapi works in French; since she co-scripted and co-directed (with Vincent Paronnaud), the original version is French. So an English-dubbed version is no more of a compromise than the original, linguistically speaking. Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve will reprise their voice roles as Marjane and her mother, respectively, while Penn will step in as her father and Pop -- who's done The Rugrats Movie and other voice work -- will play her uncle. I'm trying -- and failing -- to imagine the voices of Deneuve and Penn as a married Iranian couple. Will Penn adapt a French accent to match Deneuve? Sacré bleu! I know Penn is a "name," but I wonder how much his vocal abilities will actually help the film. Sony Pictures Classics acquired North American distribution rights more than a year ago. Work on the dub will finally start this summer, with the hope that it will be completed in time to be shown at the Toronto film festival. Matt Bradshaw found the unsubtitled French preview, which looks really good.
categories Cinematical