2007, Sony Picture Classics
Written/Directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
Starring: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian
I have a bit of a thing for French/Iranian far-left cartoon women, so this movie was kind of my territory. If you don’t know, Persepolis is a beautifully hand-drawn film based on an autobiographic graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi. It has a few flaws, but it’s very entertaining–assuming you can get past its blatant socialist message.
The film details, in black-and-white, the life of a bright, energetic child named Marjane. She lives with her bourgeoisie parents in Iran, and experiences first-hand the tumultuous Iranian revolutions. She grows into a young woman over the course of the film, changing along with the government of her country. I knew next to nothing about Iranian history going into the film, so seeing this story was an enlightening experience that wouldn’t have been equaled by a half-interested skim of a few Wikipedia entries.
Marjane’s parents are far-left, and she shares their views, though she is young. She eventually travels to Europe where she falls in with lots of different crowds, though she doesn’t have much in common with most of the people she meets and she’s alone in the metaphysical sense for most of the movie.
There are a few passages that I found unnecessary and uninteresting. One sequence in which she examines her relationship with a man who has jilted her, this time changing his appearance to slobbish and boring as opposed to romantic and suave–while a good comment on our examinations of those around us–was way too long. There were also a lot of indulgent music sequences that could have been left on the cutting room floor.
Other than that, this is a good film, and as long as you are not extremely right-leaning and driven into a blind rage by any kind of sympathy for socialistic ideology, this could be an interesting viewing.