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CHICKEN WITH PLUMS

Chicken With Plums posterIran-born graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi has a new movie out. It, like her previous film, is based upon one of her graphic novels — in this case, Chicken with Plums; unlike the previous film, this one is live action, not animated cartoons. In its August 31 issue, Entertainment Weekly reviewed “Plums,” giving it a B+ but including it as Number 10 on its Top Ten Things We Love This Week, saying: “Eye-popping memories of lost love haunt a brilliant, brooding musician in the melancholic yet dazzling live-action debut.” Interviewed by Scott Simon at npr.com, Satrapi agreed that the film is “an indictment of arranged marriages, as opposed to romantic love,” which leads Satrapi to pronouncements about marriage and love.

Arranged marriages produce the sort of melodrama she has in her book and movie. “The real love story,” she said, “has to finish bad.” Romeo and Juliet? “If she marries him then there is no more love story anymore. They marry and they had a lot of children. Imagine Romeo and Juliet and they have, like, 12 kids. Who would care about their story, you know? Do you think Shakespeare would write something about them?”

Satrapi also believes that a certain amount of suffering is essential to the artistic enterprise. “Sometimes it happens to me that I wake up in the morning, I look at myself in the mirror, and I think that I'm very beautiful. The sun is shining. I'm very, very happy. This day it is impossible that I go to my studio and I draw or I write something. This day I go out, I buy myself a dress, I call my friends, I have some pina colada. I never create. If we are very happy, we would be like cats. We would lick ourselves and then sleep and eat and probably we would be much happier. But we would be cats.”

She is disappointed with politics. “The cynicism that is in the politics, it is not for my soul. It makes me an extremely bitter, cynical person that I hate to see in the mirror, really. And when I make a film like that, I will say to myself, people, they will watch it and they will [think of this country, Iran,] only by beard and veil and nuclear weapon.”

But she has hope for her “Chicken with Plums,” which is available as a DVD through the Iranian black market. Says she: “In this same country, a man dies because of the love of a woman. And if they understand that, I have done my duty. I cannot do more than that. That's it.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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