Friday, May 1, 2009

10-Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis

Image: Still from Persepolis

The strategy, of seeking connection on the level immediately below the level of difference, is often used in narrative films as well. Visibility on the level of difference (in this case, Palestinian identity -- the level of construct of nationality) is temporarily given up for the sake of establishing connection and commonality on the level below that (in this case, subjectivity of human -- the level of the construct of human). Marjane Satrapi's animated representation in Persepolis[20] is used not only to render her character more 'attractive' but also more abstract and thus easier to identify with by the U.S. audience. I have used this strategy in the first entry 'Sabra-Shatila massacre' to seek connection, at the level of being human, to subjectify/'humanize' the Palestinians in the Sabra-Shatila refugee camp. This also appears in Waltz with Bashir[21], an animated documentary that uses digital animation for almost the entire film to recreate past events and memories; only at the very end does it index to reality with actual footage – an effective strategy.

[20] Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis, 2007. 20 Apr. 2009, <>.
[21] Folman, Ari. Waltz with Bashir, 2008. 20 Apr. 2009, <>. Official site is <>. A film that importantly reminds people of the Sabra-Shatila massacre but is not completely without problems — a few critiques of the film are Ryvka Bar Zohar's "Waltz With Bashir: A Case Study on the Complicity of the Israeli Cultural Industry with Israeli Apartheid" <> and Haaretz correspondent Gideon Levy's "'Antiwar' film Waltz with Bashir is nothing but charade" <>.

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