Marjane Satrapi, comic writer and animated filmmaker, was at HAU1 in Berlin tonight talking about Perspolis. Introduced by Anjana Shrivastava (Welt Online) as critiquing the Iranian regime, Satrapi managed to present an extremely entertaining complexification of life in Iran, not simply a binary critique setting Iran against the West. As she said in her inimical ironic style, in 1984, when she first left Iran as a teenager to go to Vienna, Iran was ‘the evil’ incarnate. Now, it’s only part of the ‘axis of evil’. Much improved situation.
Personal highlight of the evening was when Satrapi described a documentary she saw about ten years ago on arte. An Iranian man is talking full speed, his wife interupts him, saying (in Iranian) “Shut the f*#* up or I’ll make you digest your teeth”. Subtitles: “Please stop talking”. Satrapi tells the story gesticulating energetically; a woman full of dynamism, ready to take apart simple images of meek Iranian women. And this tone of humour, irony and complexification led the audience to a nuanced view of the multiple realitities in Iran and the multiple ways of being Muslim around the world.


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