Persepolis and Loose Change: two politically charged films due in theaters

Two controversial films have recently gotten distribution agreements in France and the U.K. One is Persepolis, which recently won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Marjane Satrapi’s animated film is based on her autobiographical, best-selling graphic novel about her experiences growing up in Iran during the 1979 revolution. According to a New York Times report, the Iranian government is very upset about the recent award. Ali Akbar Velayati, former foreign minister and adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, feels the film promotes negative views about Iran’s government. Persepolis will be released in France in June.

On the flip side, the documentary Loose Change, which suggests that elements of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were planned and executed by the U.S. government, is getting theatrical release in the U.K. by Revolver Entertainment. Loose Change is one of the most downloaded films in Internet history, and will be released in the U.K. on the anniversary of 9/11.

Check out the Loose Change teaser trailer at Google Video RIGHT HERE

You can also see the trailer on You Tube RIGHT HERE

Here is a press release from Sony Classics Pictures, which plans to release Persepolis in the U.S. later this year.

Sony Pictures Classics announces their plans to release in North America, Persepolis, the animated feature currently in production in France, based on Iranian author Marjane Satrapi’s internationally best-selling and award-winning comic book autobiography, Persepolis and Persepolis 2.

Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud co-wrote and are co-directing the film, which is produced by Marc-Antoine Robert and Xavier Rigault of 2.4.7. Films, and executive produced by Kathleen Kennedy of the Kennedy/Marshall Company, in co-production with France 3 Cinema. Hengameh Panahi of Celluloid Dreams is handling international sales on the film.

Persepolis is the poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution. We meet nine-yearold Marjane when the fundamentalists first take power – forcing the veil on women and imprisoning thousands; follow her as she cleverly outsmarts the social guardians and discovers punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden, while living with the terror of government persecution and the Iran/Iraq war; then on to Austria as a teenager, where her parents send her to school in fear for her safety and, she has to combat being equated with the religious fundamentalism and extremism she fled her country to escape.

Marjane eventually gains acceptance in Europe but finds herself alone and horribly homesick, and returns to Iran to be with her family, though it means putting on the veil and living in a tyrannical society. After a difficult period of adjustment, she enters art school and marries, continuing to speak out against the hypocrisy she witnesses. At age twenty-four, she realizes that while she is deeply Iranian, she cannot live in Iran. She then makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her homeland for France, optimistic about her future, shaped indelibly by her past.

The French version of the film is voiced by Chiara Mastroianni as Marjane, as well as Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux and Simon Abkarian. An English version of the film will be recorded as well.

Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, Co-Presidents of Sony Pictures Classics state “Marjane Satrapi’s book is a major work that has enlightened millions worldwide. We are confident Marjane will transform her book into a movie that is timely, personal, political, and technologically on the cutting edge. The involvement of our friends Kathleen Kennedy and Hengemeh Panahi will further insure quality and success. It is a privilege to be part of this important film.”

At the prospect of Persepolis being distributed to North American and international audiences, Marjane Satrapi notes, “I observe with some sadness that five years after publishing my book Persepolis, my country is still, indeed more than ever, in the spotlight. Persepolis has become not just about me telling my story. It is universal, immediate and necessary.”

Executive Producer Kathleen Kennedy enthuses “I’m immensely excited to be involved with Persepolis. With her illustrated memoir, Marjane gives us the universal story of a young girl struggling to understand the world around her while providing a specific and altogether prescient window into the political, cultural and religious history of Iran. Marjane writes — and draws — with such insight, wit and humanity that she makes the tragedy of war and the tumult of the Islamic Revolution accessible to audiences of any background. I’m proud to be a part of bringing her remarkable experiences and inimitable voice to life on film.”

Producers Marc-Antoine Robert and Xavier Rigault of 2.4.7. Films say “Since its development, two years ago, Kathleen Kennedy, as executive producer on the project, Celluloid dreams for the international sales and Diaphana for French theatrical distribution have been a great support to us. Having Sony Pictures Classics comforts us in the idea that the destiny of Marjane Satrapi, beyond its singularity, shall meet a universal audience and has a strong potential. As a young production company, we are definitely proud to have such partners with us.”

Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran, and currently lives in Paris. She has written several children’s books and her commentary and comics appear in newspapers and magazines around the world, including The New York Times and The New Yorker. Her most recent graphic novel, Embroideries, is an entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women.

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