Persepolis
Persepolis
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Synopsis

Based on her autobiographical graphic novels, Marjane Satrapi and co-screenwriter Vincent Paronnaud directed this Oscar-nominated, black-and-white animated film about a free-spirited Iranian girl who is sent to live in Austria when fundamentalists take over during the Islamic Revolution. In Vienna, she discovers punk rock and boys, as well as moral codes that ultimately conflict with her upbringing. Homesick, she returns to an Iran she barely recognizes. "While so many films about coming of age involve manufactured dilemmas, here is one about a woman who indeed does come of age, and magnificently" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). Featuring the voices of Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve. In French, English, Marjane Satrapi/Vincent Paronnaud---France---2007---95 mins.

Reviews of 'Persepolis'

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  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
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  | Coco#1

I found the film vastly overrated. Critics raved about how the film is a feminist, anti- theocratic manifesto. The main character leaves Iran for Paris at the end of the film as an expression of the character leaving an oppressive regime to escape to freedom. I didn't find the main character particularly sympathetic, but rather a spoiled rich man's daughter. Like a spoiled brat, she lives a carefree life getting high & sleeping with lots of men in Austria, gets an innocent man in trouble, gets married & divorces a man at whim. The only two sympathetic characters were the grandmother and uncle. The days of the Shah were not wonderful. One million Iranians gave up their lives to overthrow the Shah. Although this is mentioned in the film, what is not mentioned is that the rate of literacy among men was abysmal let alone women who suffered even higher levels of illiteracy than men. Today there is universal literacy in Iran. Regardless of how one might feel about a theocratic government., it is thanks to them this is true. The position of women did not deteriorate under the theocratic government, but improved significantly. Iranian women comprise the majority of university students & professionals. However, this isn't shown in the film. If Iran was really so oppressive towards women, why is it the main character can easily divorce or leave the country? Moreover, what is so much freer about France, the US, or the West as a whole? You are free to starve, to live on the streets, & to be hungry, too. Maybe if you are rich it is free. Americans don't equal the Iranians in literacy and American women don't even have the same access to education and jobs Iranian women have in Iran. I was expecting to see a film that really explored cultures and mocked them. Instead I felt I was watching a stupid propaganda film. I wish I had the money to live a carefree existence in Austria or France like the main character does rather than have watched this film.

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  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
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  | bigpicture#1

For someone who has not read the graphic novels (i.e. comics) of this story I think it would be great to see. If you have read them it is sort of redundant. However the film is very well done and I recommend it. Especially good for young adults.

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  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
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  | Lewis#4

This animated film is based upon Marjane Satrapi’s two-volume graphic novel, a personal and political coming-of-age memoir that, inevitably, invites a comparison with Art Spiegelman’s Maus. The film adopts the severely simple black-and-white aesthetic of the book, employing traditional ink-on-paper animation and demonstrating that a world of emotion and drama can be invoked without computer-generated visuals. It is the story of young Marjane, a precocious eight-year-old in Tehran at the time of the Iranian Revolution (1978). A natural troublemaker, reared in a liberal household, Marjane--as a teenager and adult she is voiced by Chiara Mastroianni--rebels against the repressive theocracy that follows the Shah’s departure and is eventually sent to Vienna to keep her out of harm’s way. After a maturing dose of Western freedom and loneliness, Marjane returns to Tehran, where she takes another run-and-go at making a life for herself under the ever-watchful eyes of the religious authorities. Then, bowing to the inevitable, she makes a final departure for Paris. “Persepolis” is in part a depiction of Iran’s post-Revolution travails seen simply through the eyes of an earnest young girl. In part it is the story of this girl and her supportive family trying to make the best of things in tough times. Finally it is, at some level, a feminist tract, following the difficult journey of a young woman toward self-actualization in a society that closely monitors its females and punishes transgressions. At the same time, thanks no doubt to its presentation as an animated feature, it has a universal quality. Iran here stands in for all totalitarian states. And Marjane’s story--her struggle for fulfillment, her impetuous curiosity, her adolescent awkwardness--is played out in every corner of the inhabited earth. It is a sometimes sad story leavened with gentle humor and wisdom.

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