Intisar’s Car is a graphic novel about the difficult situation of women in Yemen. The story revolves around a twenty seven-year-old anaesthetist, intelligent, with a strong character and a fine sense of humour, who finds her spaces of freedom in a very unconventional way.
The story is told by Intisar herself.
She tells us anecdotes of her life while she drives around Sana’a, while she enjoys a break at work or while she smokes in her room. The stories are funny, surprising, touching, and sometimes, dramatic. Throughout them, we plunge into the sealed off world of a Yemeni woman and we gradually discover the complex reality of the country.
What is the aim of this graphic novel?
Intisar’s Car shows us the reality of Yemen through the eyes of a Yemeni woman, without resorting to cheap sensationalism and always keeps alive the hope for a change.
One of the main theories displayed on the graphic novel states that in a society where men have power over women, sooner or later, men will end up by using that power against women, blatantly unfairly.
Nonetheless, Intisar’s Car also shows us everything that Western societies have in common with Muslims. In Europe and America, the image of Islam has been damaged since the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on September, 11th. Some sectors of population accept the theory of “the Clash of Civilizations” as an undisputed reality. However, what unites us with Muslims is much more important than what keeps us apart. Intisar is a great example. She is Muslim, a profound believer, but we agree with her ideas, share her sufferings, understand her needs and, from the very beginning of the book, we consider her to be a good friend, rather than a Muslim.
Why the title?
For Intisar, her car is a symbol of freedom.
At the steering-wheel of her Corolla 84, Intisar can compete with men and defeat them, something that is impossible in other aspects of life. But her car is also a space where she feels relaxed, listening to music, a place where she manages to escape her problems.
Where comes the idea of Intisar’s Car from?
The scriptwriter, Pedro Riera, accompanied his wife to Yemen when she got the chance to work for one year at the American School in Sana’a. Both were shocked from the very beginning by the gender segregation that ruled that society and then decided to write an essay on the situation of women in Yemen.
During 9 months, they followed a research and did about forty interviews with Yemeni women. A great deal of the episodes that make up this graphic novel came from those interviews.
Who is Intisar in real life?
Intisar doesn’t exist. She is not a woman in particular.Pedro Riera got the inspiration for the character from one of the interviewees. Nonetheless, the biographical details and anecdotes on her personal life belong to several women, and some times, they are made up.
The artists: Pedro Riera and Nacho Casanova
From the very first moment when Pedro Riera started thinking about writing a script based on the situation of women in Yemen, he imagined himself working with Nacho Casanova.
On the one hand, the narrative rhythm of Casanova’s work was perfect for the kind of script that Riera wanted to write.
On the other, Casanova’s style was ideal to represent the details of everyday’s life in Yemen and, at the same time, to dramatize the story.
The understanding between them was perfect from their very first meeting, when the script was only a vague project, and it continued like that until the project was completed.