Persepolis Review

Sunday, March 8, 2009

War, peace, hate, love, repression, freedom, alienation, intimacy; all concepts that affect our lives in some way, whether how far or near they might appear, our lives our shaped by our environments. In the critically acclaimed (winner of the 2007 Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival) hand-drawn animated film, Persepolis, tells the story of young girl named Marjane growing up in war-torn Iran and then going to Europe to escape the ravages of the Islamic revolution in Iran. The beginning of the film takes place when the Iranian people were revolting against the oppressive regime back in the 1970s-1980s, Iraq then attacks causing the revolution to fail and Iran subsequently becomes a tyrannical and fanatical religious regime. We see through the eyes of this young girl all this chaos, the frustrations associated with living in a repressive society, and the alienation one feels. The compelling story-telling moved me and I felt empathy for Marjane. Stamped with both humor and drama, the film allows you to see the harsh realities of the world meanwhile escaping into a complex and well thought out narrative. Despite seeing horrible conditions, the film still manages to add an optimistic and happy atmosphere. Ultimately we all have to surpass the problems that are around us, we have to be grateful for what we have around us. Persepolis shows us that we can find peace and happiness in the oddest of places. Our family and friends are always there for us and we must never forget where we come from. Our environment shapes up but it does not determine our fate. Being a rare film hybrid, an autobiographical animated film, the expressions and feeling of the characters are more fleshed out. The witty animation allows us to get involved with the characters unlike any live-action film can replicate. Each single frame is a beautifully drawn to perfection. Very smooth and natural feel to it allowing for the characters expressions to be both slightly humorous and resonant to our emotions. Persepolis is absolutely spellbinding! A triumph in animation, showing the industry of animation that it’s not only a medium for little children, but instead animation is maturing to become an alternative medium for exhibiting complex stories about the human condition without the limitation of sets, locations, and special effects.

"Listen. I don't like to preach, but here's some advice. You'll meet a lot of jerks in life. If they hurt you, remember it's because they're stupid. Don't react to their cruelty. There's nothing worse than bitterness and revenge. Keep your dignity and be true to yourself. "
-Marjane's Grandmother (Persepolis)