Persepolis is a brilliantly constructed and beautifully animated film about a young girl growing up in Tehran during the Islamic revolution. Based on an autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, her story is a sad one: of a young woman who cannot feel at home in an increasingly oppressive state (who digs punk rock and heavy metal and can't stand conformity) but feels out of place anywhere else. At the same time, the author is clever and self-aware and never lets the story sink to the level of self-pity -- and doesn't shy away from self-criticism.
The animation is unlike anything you are likely to have seen. It matches the expressive simplicity of the graphic novels -- but has a vitality and wit that is uniquely cinematic. It is another reminder that the possibilities of creative storytelling with animation are far from exhausted by the more mainstream approaches of Disney and Dreamworks, or even the wide ranging styles of Japanese Anime.
One of the most touching elements of the story is its tribute to the strength and support of her parents. While sometimes they are exasperated by her behavior they are never less than supportive. Her grandmother, who understands her best, encourages her to hold on to her passion and spunk, but be wise in its expression. A delightful and exciting work -- that is timely in its reminder that our perception of life in other countries should not be dictated exclusively by the stories that appear in the mainstream media. This story, also, does not pretend to capture everything there is to know about Iran -- since it is merely the perspective of one young woman, but a perceptive and intelligent and thoughtful perspective. Highly recommended.
**** out of **** Animated films are always so interesting, no only because of their often times thrilling visuals, but also because of their ability to intoxicate us in their whimsy. I thought that I knew what a great animated film was, but upon watching "Persepolis" I can officially say that I know. This is one of the best animated films I have ever seen. Emotionally resonant, timely in its narrative, and beautiful in its power. This is indeed a very artistic triumph for … more
What I really appreciate about Foreign cinema is its innate ability to make the simplest of concepts powerful without stooping to “dressing up” gimmicks that Hollywood is so prone to do. Another medium in filmmaking that is seen very differently in Japan, Korea and even the continent of Europe is the animated medium; while most of American filmmakers see animation as a form only suited for kids or the “young at heart” with concepts so formulaic just so they … more
Forget your stereotypes of Iranians. `Persepolis' is an engagingly funny, sad, and poignant look at Merjane (Margie) (Chiara Mastrorianni) a girl who grows up in Tehran during the 1980's. Despite our possible preconceptions, Merjane surprisingly sports addidas sneakers, eats French fries, and yearns to shave her legs. The movie provides an absorbing history lesson, showing us the close up ramifications of people's lives behind the headlines, and tells a captivating story about a girl trying to belong … more
A fascinating and wholly unexpected take on Iran’s Islamic revolution beginning in the 1970s, Persepolis is an enthralling, animated feature about a spirited young woman who spends her life trying to deal with the consequences of her nation’s history. Based on an autobiographical comic book by Marjane Satrapi, the story concerns Marji (voiced as a teenager and woman by Chiara Mastroianni), whose natural fire and precociousness are slowly dampened by the rise of religious extremists. Marji grieves over the imprisonment and execution of a beloved uncle, then begrudgingly adapts to ever-tightening rules about dress, social mores, education for women, and expectations about marriage and divorce. Along the way, her grandmother (Danielle Darrieux) and mother (Catherine Deneuve) help keep Marji grounded during her rebellious teens and encourage her to find life beyond Iran’s borders, a decision that proves both a blessing and curse. An unique window onto a crucial chapter of 20th century history, Persepolis is graphically engaging with its black-and-white, bold lines and feeling of repressed energy, fit to burst. The emotional content is so strong that after awhile, one almost forgets the film is a cartoon. Satrapi co-wrote the screenplay and co-directed the film along with animator Vincent Paronnaud.--Tom Keogh