In this episode of “Literary Arts: The Archive Project”, Marjane Satrapi talks generally about her work and specifically about the film production of her book Persepolis. She first establishes that she makes “comics” not “graphic novels,” and she dismisses the term “graphic novel” as a marketing ploy of the publishing companies. She also establishes that the comic form is not a genre but an artistic medium—one that allows for narrative structures that are quite different from books and paintings. She goes on to explain that she wanted to stay true to this medium throughout the film production of Persepolis, and touches on her initial difficulties with the extremely social moviemaking process as opposed to the solitude of creating comics. Her humor is evident when she talks of the luxury of civilization, the need for gaining distance (both time and geographic) from a personal story to tell it well, and the challenges of traveling as an Iranian with a French passport.
Marjane Satrapi is an Iranian-born French graphic novelist, illustrator, film director, and children’s book author. She was born in Iran in 1969 and grew up in Tehran in a middle-class Iranian family, attending the Lycee Francais, until she left for Vienna and, later, Strasbourg to study Decorative Arts. She eventually moved to France, where she now lives with her husband, Mattias Ripa. Satrapi has worked on many graphic novels and animated films, but she attracted worldwide attention for her autobiographical graphic novel series, “Persepolis”. The work chronicles her childhood in Iran and her adolescence in Europe. In 2007, Persepolis was adapted into a critically acclaimed animated film of the same name, which received over 25 major international award nominations and received over 15 major international awards.