France taps ‘Persepolis’ for Oscar entry

Sony animated film to close NY fest

PARIS — “Persepolis,” Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnoud’s B&W animated film about the travails of girlhood in Iran, has been picked to rep France at the Oscars.

Sony Pictures Classics-distributed pic, which will close the New York Film Festival Oct. 14, shared the jury prize at the Cannes film Festival this year and has been a hit with crix and audiences alike in France, grossing more than $9 million.

But Satrapi’s in turns hilarious and poignant account of life under the mullahs in post-revolution Iran has won few fans among the authorities of that country, where the Cannes prize was decried by one official as an example of “Islamophobia.”

The Bangkok Intl. Film Festival dropped the pic as its opener following a request from the Iranian embassy in Thailand.

The French-language version was voiced by Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve. Sean Penn, Gena Rowlands and Iggy Pop will join Mastroianni and Deneuve in the English-language version. The pic was produced by Marc-Antoine Robert and Xavier Rigault of 2.4.7. Films, with Kathleen Kennedy exec producing. Dreamachine handled international sales.

The committee that selected the film for the Oscars included Cannes Film Festival artistic topper Thierry Fremaux and Unifrance prexy Margaret Menegoz.

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