Tahir Rana has always loved animation. He began his career in form, working on various series such as Max and Ruby, Looney Tunes Cartoonsand George of the Junglebefore making his feature-length animated debut, with co-director Eric Warin, Charlotte.
The film tells the real-life story of German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon, who created what is considered the first graphic novel with her series of over 750 autobiographical expressionist paintings titled “Life? Or theatre? Her life was tragically cut short when she was killed at Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.
Solomon is voiced in the film by Academy Award-nominated Keira Knightley, with a supporting voice cast that includes Mark Strong, Brenda Blethyn and Academy Award-winner Jim Broadbent. Knightley is also an executive producer, alongside Marion Cotillard, Xavier Dolan and others.
Charlotte premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival to positive reception for Rana and Warin’s exploration of Solomon’s all-too-brief life, using animation to capture his unique view of the world. Rana told CBC: “Her story, to me, really resonates now, even as a refugee story, as, you know, someone who was marginalized because of their religion and their race. These are themes that still resonate in the world today unfortunately.”
Below, Rana shares with A.frame the films that sparked her love of animation and those that inspire her as a storyteller.