Marjane Satrapi (author of Persepolis) and Tara Tiba (Iranian-Australian musician)
Only seven years behind the rest of the word, I finally watched Persepolis this week and it blew me away. Based on Iranian-born Marjane Satrapi’s two autobiographical graphic novels, it not only gave an insight into what it’s like to live under an oppressive theocracy ( I wonder if there’s any other kind), but also turned my ideas of the possibility of story on their head. It took its gentle time, layering story within story, meandering its own path (just like life), leaving space for the viewer to join the gaps.
Inspired, I rushed to the library the very next day (well strolled actually, but it’s not got the same ring) to borrow my first ever graphic novel: Persepolis 2 – A Story of Return. A big step for a word-nerdy prose freak like me. It didn’t disappoint. Maria Saprati’s gift of story telling through pictures is masterful. The dialogue occasionally strays into exposition, but I forgive her that because she says so much without words.
The Iranian theme drew me back to an exquisite album by Tara Tiba, who had to leave Iran to be able to sing. I saw her and her very fine band twice at Womadelaide last year and was entranced. This is my favourite from the concerts and the album, with its compelling guitar line (in 13/8), beautiful saxophone and vocal duet, leading into Tara in full flight. I invite you to invest five minutes of your time to immerse yourself in these new sounds from an ancient culture, and perhaps to ruminate on this comment I came across on one of her videos: ‘I wish women could live their lives fully in Iran’ … something echoed in Marjane Satrapi’s novels.