Officials accuse Cannes film of 'Islamophobia'

Iranian officials have protested the Cannes Film Festival’s decision to award the jury prize to Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis.”

Animated pic, based on Satrapi’s autobiographical, bestselling graphic novel about her experiences growing up in Iran at the time of the 1979 revolution, offers a wry, satirical take on the oppressive life under the rule of the mullahs. Not surprisingly, it has rubbed some leading figures in the Iranian establishment the wrong way.

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

Ali Akbar Velayati, former foreign minister and adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the French-produced film is another example of U.S. attempts to “encourage forces opposed to the authorities in any way possible.”

After winning the jury prize, in a shared award with Mexican helmer Carlos Reygadas’ “Silent Light,” Satrapi, who co-helmed with Vincent Paronnaud, dedicated her prize “to all Iranians.”

Dreamachine is handling international sales. Sony Pictures Classics is handling English-language territories, and Kathleen Kennedy is exec producer.

“Persepolis” is set for Gallic release in June. An English-language version is being prepped ahead of its Stateside release in the fall. Catherine Deneuve will return to voice the mother, with Gena Rowlands and Satrapi herself providing the voice of the grandmother and little girl, respectively.

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