A critically acclaimed animated autobiographical (give or take a little) flick that turned out to be no more than average for me.
Let's start with the bad, and work up to the good. First of, despite most of the movie being very good, the ending flat out sucked. Like it really, really sucked. They leave us on a cliff hanger, yet they never give us a sequel. Heck, they don't even give us a spin off television series. It's right up there with Knowing for worst ending ever.
However, the good really outweighs the bad. Marji is a very interesting and complicated character. She is very free spirited and brave, but sometimes that can get her in trouble. By the end of the movie, we truly feel for her, especially when Uncle Anooush is arrested.
The script was also very good. I don't often notice a script, but the script for Persepolis was so good it was actually quite shocking.
It's a very intelligent and emotional film that I reccomend to anyone, especially historical fiction lovers and fans of the movie The Boy in The Striped Pajamas. Great, great film.
This autobiographical film tells the story of a young girl who comes to a vague political awareness during the Islamic Revolution against the Shah and comes of age during the following cultural shift from an era of relative freedom to a world dictated by Islamic law. Though she spends part of the film in Vienna, most of the action takes place in Khomeini's Iran.
The film has many strengths, not the least of which is its clever animation. Most of the film takes place in black and white, primarily used to differentiate past from present, oppression from freedom, and the contrasts of each image give the film a visual poetry that is absent in many color animated films. If you've ever thought that actresses were more beautiful, actors more charming, in older, black and white films, then you'll also be struck by the grace of the visuals in Persepolis.
What is more, Satrapi understands that many audiences wouldn't sit through a lecture on Iranian history - especially if they're expecting to see an entertaining film. Like Oliver Stone's great, politically based films, Satrapi keeps the political discussion centered on the characters. These are people whose lives have been dramatically altered by politics, and whatever political discourses the film ventures into are always relevant to the characters' journeys. Satrapi knows that in this genre we only care about politics to the extent we care about the characters.
Finally, Iran has endured violent colonization, oil money-grubbers, a radical cultural revolution, a bloody war with Iraq, and all the problems associated with a theocracy. They've fit an awful lot of violence and upheaval all within the last fifty years. Such subjects carry a slit-your-wrists level of heaviness, but there is enough comic relief in Persepolis to keep us out of the doldrums for too long. Jokes at the expense the male ego, Marjane's resistance against Islamic norms, and a truly inspired Eye of the Tiger (you know - that song from Rocky III) sequence keep us laughing between depictions of political unrest.
Considering France has recently outlawed burqas, I found it odd that France was the penultimate representation of freedom for the characters, but it is nevertheless true that Western democracies starkly contrast current conditions in Iran. It is also true that Western foreign policy - most notably our own policy - is actively engaged in what goes on in Iran, a warehouse of foreign oil. While it's always dangerous to get our history from film, partially because we are subject to the filmmakers' bias, watching Persepolis provides a remarkably educational and fairly accurate depiction of how Iran got from where it was to what we hear about during every contemporary newscast. Understanding the past and understanding Persepolis truly does lead us to understanding the present, and the fine animation, comic relief, and focus on character adds sugar to whatever bitterness the medicine of a history lesson might carry.
This film isn?t just about Culture, Religion, Polictics, battle of the sexes or Coming of age ? it?s a combination of all.
The story is charming, simple but complex, heavy but with funny moments (some darker than others). The politics seem reasonable, I'm no expert but the movie focuses more on the people in Iran than the ideology behind the country's history, and bias or no it's a good little story. Good enough that Persepolis will likely become a standby in introductory post-colonial film (and literature) courses - and they could do worse. One of the best of 2007, no question.
Still, the film has an impressive impact that's certainly not softened by its subtle comedy. Again, worth watching for the incredible animation.
This never tries to make a hero or a victim out of Marjane - her flaws are what make her so irresistibly human. In the end, Marjane had to leave Iran and move to France. By means of Persepolis, it seems like she finally found a way to preserve the Iran she so deeply loves.
The story is intriguing and delightful to spite it's sometimes unpleasant subject matter.
The animation is totally captivating and the voice actors are PERFECTLY suited for their roles.
Offering a child?s eye view of the repressive regime in 1980s Iran, Marjane Satrapi?s autobiographical cartoon wowed audiences with its timeless animation, exuberant heroine and fiery political content. Marjane?s defiance, whether she?s listening to punk rock or arguing history with her teachers, makes her a deeply lovable narrator. The film deservedly won an Oscar for best animated feature.
Best bit: The animation itself ? bombs fall and history unfolds in brilliant black and white.