Commentary &Daily post 30 May 2007 09:39 am

Kudos and Dodos

– As I mentioned on Monday, Marjane Satrapi and co-director Vincent Paronnaud is to be congratulated for their film, Persepolis having won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. However, the film seems to be on a real hate list in Iran. An advisor to Iran’s President was furious over the prize saying that the movie promoted “Islamophobia.”

Mehdi Kalhor, a cultural adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “Islamophobia in Western drama started in France and producing and highlighting the anti-Iranian film Persepolis in Cannes falls in line with this Islamophobia.”

Iranian authorities had already protested to France over the Cannes screening of the film co-directed by Satrapi, who insisted that her comic-memoir was about family and not politically oriented. Reacting to the complaint from Iran, France’s Foreign Ministry Tuesday defended the Cannes Film Festival’s decision to screen a movie that paints a bleak portrait of life after the Iranian revolution.

“Iranian authorities must understand that France is very attached to freedom of expression and freedom of creation,” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said in Paris. “The festival chose the film … It was nothing to do with politics.”

Marjane Satrapi, on stage to receive her award, Sunday, said: “I’ll speak for both directors. We want to express our thanks Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux for having selected our film. We thank the Jury for having awarded the Prize to us. We thank the whole crew of ninety people who worked with us for two years. Personally, although this film is universal, I wish to dedicate the prize to all Iranians.”

The story made yesterday’s NYTimes and today’s Variety.

The film will open in the US this coming November.


Boy, say one thing to criticise John Krisfalusi and you may as well have offended the Iranian government. I think Stephen Worth may have finished his doctoral thesis on my website for all the fury I aroused in him.

In defending, UPA on Saturday against the barbs of John Krisfalusi and his ignoble
stance against these masterful films, I began to wonder if appreciation of these films was purely generational.

Was the generation before me, who had made these films, and mine, who appreciate them, wrong?

Was my enjoyment of many of these shorts a sign of my growing obsolescence.

N a h !

I know better. Just because there are still a lot of Picasso-haters out there, modern art isn’t wrong. Those who dislike Picasso are wrong.

Of course, UPA, like Picasso, produced a lot of swill. It was expected that any studio that wants to keep rolling has to make a lot of commmercial trash, and I think somewhere around 1953 UPA lost it, and their cartoons became mawkish.

However, even the worst of these UPA films is still interesting to me, just as I still enjoy many Terrytoons or Paramount films. I’m not going to rant about either, though.
However I do recognize the classics, and I give them their due diligence.

The mass of vehement comments wasn’t completely surprising to me. I’d once stepped in the goo of John K. before and found my mailbox full. Thank goodness I don’t live in LA or I might have had death threats. (Just joking.)

Interesting that John, who I think is a very shy guy (I don’t know him), stays behind his theories at his blog. I’ll keep checking in there, but promise not to fill up his comment box with long winded rants. I’ll use my own blog for that.

By the way, John has a good report today on the interesting interviews conducted this past weekend in Chicago. John interviewed Bill Plympton one night and Bill interviewed John the next night. Amusing.

9 Responses to “Kudos and Dodos”

  1. on 30 May 2007 at 11:02 am 1.andrew said …

    I believe Perspolis won the prize more because of political reasons rather than artistic and filmmaking values. the animation is very flat, limited and non entertaining, the characters are not appealing and hardly draw any sympathy, the acting is terrible, there is no depth in any scene and you end up watching a badly moving version of the comic book which didnt have a good story to begin with.

    I’ve been in Iran myself for a while and some of the things that happen in the movie are known to happen there. and i liked the film for it’s critism on the goverment and the whole islamic crap thats going on there but the film itself, from an artistic point of view didnt even deserve to be in the festival, let alone winning something.

  2. on 30 May 2007 at 11:48 am 2.Michael said …

    Thanks for your first-hand comments. I wondered why AO Scott of the NYTimes was so tepid in his comments on the film, whereas two years ago he frothed at the mouth over The Triplettes of Belleville, which was out of competition.

    Cannes has been known to favor the political statement in films.

    Regardless, I look forward to seeing it for myself in November.

  3. on 30 May 2007 at 6:35 pm 3.Stephen Worth said …

    There’s absolutely no “fury” here. I’m having fun! What could be better than discussing a subject I have passion for with peers? Isn’t that what blogging is all about?

    The ad hominem attacks and the dogmatic unsupported opinions can become tiresome, but I learned to filter those out long ago. Most of the people throwing out insults from anonymous accounts haven’t ever made a film themselves. What do they know about how films should be made?

    It’s fun to see people try to puzzle out what John’s like from his blog. I know him, so I look at his blog and it’s exactly like him. But people who don’t know him look at his blog and think that he is everything from a belligerent loudmouth bully to a brooding mad scientist to a quiet, shy person. He’s none of those things. It’s interesting how people can project such a wide variety of preconceived ideas on someone. I guess he’s a lightning rod.

    We’re all known by what we say and what we do. I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished, and you should be too for creating a blog where people can come and talk about animation on a level beyond just “fans-eye-view rants” or “fan/historian trivia”. I think the ability of filmmakers to communicate with each other on the internet is one of the greatest things to happen to animation in the past couple of decades. Your site is a destination for that.

    See ya

  4. on 30 May 2007 at 10:06 pm 4.Tim Rauch said …

    It sounds like Andrew is saying the film of Persepolis is more or less like the comic book. Awesome. Books as captivating as Satraapi’s only come along every so often. Bravo for her.

  5. on 30 May 2007 at 11:19 pm 5.Garge Jorrido said …

    Picasso wasn’t even funny ! Shame on him ! (Just kiddin’)

  6. on 31 May 2007 at 2:28 pm 6.Benjamin De Schrijver said …

    “Those who dislike Picasso are wrong.”
    Nah… those who say Picasso is bad are wrong. There’s a difference. For example, I really don’t like “Goodfellas”, but as a filmstudent, I can definitly see how well it is made, and can understand those that say it’s their favorite film. I’m not a big fan of Picasso either, but it doesn’t keep me from realizing that he was a genius.
    One is taste, the other is knowledge and respect.

  7. on 02 Jun 2007 at 12:20 pm 7.Alimator said …

    Picasso was good. He was interesting and he was valid. However, he was not a genius. Van Gogh was a genius. Picasso was a competent graphic designer at best. I don’t deny his value; I think others over-inflate it.

    I think UPA was the same. It was very good but not quite the deliverance from egypt. I wish Steve Worth would stop signing off with ‘See ya’. In my mind I keep hearing ‘don’t wanna be ya’ right after.

  8. on 04 Jun 2007 at 7:33 pm 8.Mig said …

    Hehe, Michael. I teach animation and one of my students always have a Johnk-alike remark against almost everything (everything except John K. certified good animation, of course) .Absolutely agreed with you regarding to UPA. Oh well and I like Clampett too, why not? ;)
    BTW thanks for your

  9. on 04 Jun 2007 at 7:34 pm 9.Mig said …

    of course that “have” is a typo :)

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