|List Price: $29.95
Our Price: $12.67
You Save: $17.28 (58%)
Persepolis is the poignant story of a young girl coming-of-age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is through the eyes of precocious and outspoken nine-year-old Marjane that we see a people's hopes dashed as fundamentalists take power forcing the veil on women and imprisoning thousands. Clever and fearless she outsmarts the "social guardians" and discovers punk ABBA and Iron Maiden. Yet when her uncle is senselessly executed and as bombs fall around Tehran in the Iran/Iraq war the daily fear that permeates life in Iran is palpable. As she gets older Marjane's boldness causes her parents to worry over her continued safety. And so at age fourteen they make the difficult decision to send her to school in Austria. Vulnerable and alone in a strange land she endures the typical ordeals of a teenager. In addition Marjane has to combat being equated with the religious fundamentalism and extremism she fled her country to escape. Over time she gains acceptance and even experiences love but after high school she finds herself alone and horribly homesick. Though it means putting on the veil and living in a tyrannical society Marjane decides to return to Iran to be close to her family. After a difficult period of adjustment she enters art school and marries all the while continuing to speak out against the hypocrisy she witnesses. At age 24 she realizes that while she is deeply Iranian she cannot live in Iran. She then makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her homeland for France optimistic about her future shaped indelibly by her past.System Requirements:Running Time: 95 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: ANIMATION/ANIME Rating: PG-13 UPC: 043396225251 Manufacturer No: 22525
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
Stills from Persepolis (click for larger image)
- A very accurate movie about the post revolution time in Iran
Well.... As an Iranian woman (a bit younger than Marjan)I remember those days very well. It is a very accurate movie about that era. It brought me many sad memories from the time that Tehran was attacked by missiles. I was too young to remember the actual revolution and the street demonstrations and I have a very vague memory of the Shah's era, but I remember the war and the post war era. She draws a very accurate picture of the hidden parties in Iran, the alcohol consumptions in parties, the Islamic police, the secretive dates between boys and girls, the security guards in the airport etc..
The moral of the story is that Marjan had to immigrate from Iran for the second time (which was her last time) simply because she felt like a stranger in her motherland...She had to start her life all over again in another country. Iran was not her country any more... The same story happened to millions of Iranians who left Iran in some point after 1979 and now live in exile including myself.
This is a true story of the dreams that were shattered after the Islamic revolution...the families that were broken.... and the collapse of the most ancient civilizations on earth...It is the story of one of the biggest human tragedies in 20 century and the movie very cleverly shows that.
- This simple and powerful film is highly likely to strike a cord in you...
"Persepolis" (2007), written and directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, is a beautifully made film that recounts an engaging tale, that also happens to be true. It is important to point out that even though this is an animated film, it is definitely not for children. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that this funny and somewhat wistful movie is a rare gem that teenagers and adults will appreciate in its full value.
This film is based on the autobiography of one of its directors, Marjane Satrapi, a young woman that grew up in Iran, and lived there both before and after the Iranian revolution that established an Islamic Fundamentalist government, drastically reducing personal liberties and imposing a completely different lifestyle on its citizens, specially on women.
Marjane's story allows us to see her as a young and enthusiastic child that shares her parents hopes regarding the new regime, and as a rebellious teenager that cannot understand the limitations that affect women in her country, and that is sent abroad by her parents in order to protect her. We suffer with Marjane when she tries to find herself in Austria, and understand her feelings when she decides to return to Iran in order to be with her family.
What happens then? Well, you have to watch this film in order to find out that. All the same, I can let you know that I loved "Persepolis", and that I think that this simple and powerful film is highly likely to strike a cord in you. Highly recommended...
- Fascinating Look at an Iranian Girl's Transformative Journey
Hand-drawn animation, especially simple black-and-white drawings, is so rare to see on the big screen that one has to appreciate the emotional nakedness that Marjane Satrapi and her fellow cartoonist Vincent Paronnaud bring to this 2007 fictionalized memoir of Satrapi's formative years as the free-spirited daughter in a liberal Iranian family. The 95-minute film follows the same abstract style found in her best-selling autobiographical graphic novel, adding color for the present-day scenes and using a shadow theater approach to the historical sequences. The cumulative effect works well within the context of the story's volatile emotional changes as it alternates in quicksilver fashion between poignant, funny and harrowing. The film reminds me a bit of Mark Forster's adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, which also has a protagonist forced to live in exile due to the advent of war and tyranny. The difference is that Satrapi's family stayed in Tehran throughout the turmoil brought on by the Shah's overthrow, the oppressive fundamentalist regime that followed, and the Iran-Iraq war. Some of this comes across as a bit muddled, but the propulsive narrative drive and empathetic voice characterizations compensate greatly.
The plot flashes back to Marjane's childhood in Iran during the 1970's as she gradually begins to understand how her family has been mistreated and imprisoned due to their Communist leanings under the Shah. Once the Islamic Revolution deposes of the Shah in 1979, the family faces even more persecution by the new government. Forced to wear a burqa, Marjane has an escalating desire to express her individuality through listening to heavy rock music and questioning authority at every turn. During the 1980's, Marjane's parents decide to send their daughter to Austria to continue her education since Iran was becoming a political hotbed with the oncoming Iran-Iraq war promising even greater horrors. In he meantime, Marjane never fits into Viennese student life, and her situation worsens with a series of bad romantic relationships. She ends up on the streets, and her desperation becomes such that she returns home to Iran. Falling into a crevasse between Western and Eastern cultures, Marjane falls into a depression until she faces up to her true fate. What Satrapi and Paronnaud do especially well is make the animated Marjane's journey a universal one that gives personalized insights into the current challenges facing the Middle East.
The 2008 DVD offers both the original French and English-dubbed versions of the feature. The filmmakers recruited quite a cast of voices to inhabit the characters, including Chiara Mastroianni as Marjane, her mother Catherine Deneuve as Marjane's mother, and another legend, Danielle Darrieux as Marjane's feisty grandmother. Deneuve and Darrieux played mother-and-daughter in Jacques Demy's candy-coated musical, The Young Girls of Rochefort over four decades earlier. On the English version, Mastroianni and Deneuve repeat their roles, but Gena Rowlands takes over for Darrieux. There are several other extras on the DVD, the chief one being a half-hour documentary in French, "The Hidden Side of Persepolis", which gives a highly detailed look at the production process. Satrapi and Paronnaud are interviewed extensively, as are several crew members and both the 91-year-old Darrieux and Mastroianni (a dead ringer for her father Marcello). There are two other pieces - a brief short, "Behind-the-Scenes of Persepolis", which focuses primarily on the English dubbing process with Rowlands and Iggy Pop, and a half-hour press conference held at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival with Satrapi, Paronnaud, the film's producers, as well as Mastroianni and Deneuve. There is no full-length directors' commentary track, but three scenes have individual subtitled commentary - Satrapi on the opening scene in color, Mastroianni on the amusing "Eye of the Tiger" scene, and Paronnaud on the establishing shots of Vienna. Particularly interesting are five other scenes where we are shown the storyboards versus the final animation....more info
- Creative and Truthful
This movie relates very accurately the events from the writer's prespective without getting too invloved in the politics. It's done tastefully and obejectively....more info
- Some UK reviewers have criticized it, but ...
Some UK reviewers have criticized Marjane for seemingly complaining that the Iranian regime tried to stop her and her associates from partying. I would not defend partying of this kind, but it is evident that these critical reviewers have not had the experience of living under a tyrannical regime. I would not wish it on anyone. To dissociate oneself from a pervasive and dominant foli ¨¤ plusieurs is incredibly difficult and many people go insane in the attempt or commit suicide.
In fact this book and DVD is very helpful in understanding how many people inevitably react in a repressive, authoritarian regime when trying to maintain a personal integrity. If you squeeze a balloon in one place, it will splurge out in another - often in an unpalatable way. What amazes me is how dissidents manage to remain sane in authoritarian regimes of this nature. The author, and her family, should be commended for having done so. It also takes courage to produce an account of this sort.
I would unreservedly recommend "Persepolis", both in book form and in DVD format, despite the inevitable unpalatability of some of the content. It may be uncomfortable, but it should function a warning to us as to what could happen even in currently 'democratic' states unless we face reality now and stop engaging in denial.
- Mainstream Art Film
It's in French and it's about an Iranian family, more particularly an Iranian Girl. It shows the difficulties of intergrating in Europe and the sudden, drastic change to the political climate of Iran, and what that means to a generally Western-like family which much of the world can relate to. It has simple, yet attractive art work and the story, albeit political and heavily criticized as a whole, is nothing we (Americans) aren't already accustomed to. It is a very, if I may borrow a term heavily used, "mainstream" movie for what is generally called an Art film....more info
- "Bear the Unbearable"
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 and survive under dire circumstances.
Until all the world changing events, Merjane lets us know, "I led a peaceful, uneventful life as a child." Within the family, Merjan's uncle is kindly, yet communist. He's probably seen enough dictatorships and knows of only one way out. His ordeal is documented well enough. The most supportive in the family is Merjane's grandmother (Daniell Darrieux), whose affection and wisdom go a long way. Her parents (Catherine Deneuve and Simon Abkarian) are also good people who yearn for freedom, but know how to keep Merjane's best interests above their own.
During the time, we get a first person perspective on the Shah of Iran, his rise to power, the unrest that led to his exile, and his subsequent replacement by Ayatolla Kohmeni while Saddam Hussein rose to power in Iraq. From the narrative and the played out scenes, we get the pedestrian view of how these events came into fruition and their implications in everyday lives. Later, the Iran-Iraq War is particularly unsettling for her entire country. For her safety, Merjan flees her country and settles into Austria where she develops not so close friendships with the "Out" group, seeking refuge in the punk rock/alternative scene. With Merjane telling her story we get an intimate and often comic take on the angst of adolescence as well as what it's like to be a foreigner who's mostly misunderstood or ignored. She returns to her own country and her family, but the changes have made her an alien in her own neighborhood. Knowing the origin of this film, you can probably guess what happens next...
The animation is unique and interesting. Reminded that this film garnered a nomination for Best Animated Movie Oscar*, the extras show the French artists creating the film one frame (or picture) at a time. Done mostly in black and white, the backgrounds are stylish, but mostly stagnant with the characters remaining flowing for every scene. Oddly, it is only during the transportation scenes (like when she's waiting at the airport) when we are given the full color treatment. Inevitably, it must be that hope colors her consciousness every time there's a new transition in her life. I have one objection: I didn't like all the body fluids presented. I thought they kept it real enough without having to show all of that. Ironically, the blood made a difference. We need it as evidence; it provides an unflinching detail of the ordeal(s) at hand and respects all the people involved.
Our funny bones are tickled several times as our colorful rebel resorts to splendid retorts to zealous extremists ("Girls who reveals themselves will burn in hell," says one educator), and we are served some truly funny thoughts about her body changes during puberty and the fallout of dating. 'Persepolis' has many simple joys entailed upon its viewing: A fascinating first-person history lesson, an absorbing story, and a splendid protagonist.
(Not since Art Spiegelman's groundbreaking 'Maus' have I seen a similar graphic novel treatment give this much of a wollop.)
*`Ratatouille' won the Oscar for Best Animated Film from 2007. ...more info
- Wonderful movie for tween grrrls.
One of the finest animated movies I've ever seen. Full of spunk and fun and poignancy, making excellent use of the medium, well-crafted and meaningful. An aid to cultural understanding even as it presents a case for defiant individualism. Smart, sassy, entertaining, and mandatory viewing for girls from 10 on up, as a view of female self-empowerment in the midst of formidable obstacles....more info
- Stylish, well-executed but lightweight
During the opening scene in Persepolis we see a taxi approaching Orly Airport in Paris and the air-traffic control tower rears priapically over the terminal building like - well, like a minaret over a mosque - and briefly I thought I might be in for a bit of a treat: a challenging comparison of the unspoken (and hypocritical) political oppression of the West seen through the prism of a refugee from another authoritarian state.
No such luck. I suspect the resemblance to a minaret was coincedental, for what then proceeded was a nicely executed, slickly produced, but fundamentally uninteresting account of what should have been a fascinating story.
I couldn't help but compare this story - oppressed muslim girl gets out, goes to Europe, struggles with the freedoms of the West - with that of Ayan Hirsi in Infidel and The Caged Virgin, which was altogether more shocking, enlightening, challenging and uplifting.
As a result I sat quietly, enjoying the imaginative graphics and particularly the soundtrack, but wondering when the point was going to reveal itself. As the credits rolled (their sudden arrival came as quite a surprise) it still hadn't, and even as I sit here hours later I remain mystified as to why all the effort, all the interesting (if somewhat hackneyed leftie) political and historical backdrop, to provide a backdrop for a pretty unremarkable personal story.
Olly Buxton ...more info
- An amazing story told in an incredible way
What a fascinating and tragic life Marjane Satrapi has lived. Aesthetically, the film follows the style of her graphic novels (which I haven't read), simple and bold. But the way that it communicates the complexities of emotion, character, and history is truly superb and anything but simple.
Satrapi and Parronaud achieve a feat of subtlety in their ability to portray Marjene's youthfulness without watering down the narrative. The viewer can understand the limited perspective of the main character, while following the developments in Iran that the film tries to explore.
The stunning Marjane Satrapi.
Something in the film's tone is refreshingly unapologetic-Satrapi pulls no punches when introducing us to the people that have passed through her life in Iran and Europe. She describes her friends in Austria, for example, as having perfected "forced nihilism," an obvious term of derision that I found hilarious. The heroes in her young life were communists, but they were her loved ones and composed the largest bloc of opposition to both the Shah and the Ayatollah.
The tone of the film could have easily veered toward whiny or preachy because of its subject matter, but never does. Instead, the viewer inevitably compares the struggles of their own life to the incredible hardships Satrapi has suffered. The result may be uncomfortable, but to some like myself, ultimately inspiring; it adds to our appreciation of art that is truly expressive and the tormented souls behind it that we are privileged to encounter every so often. Persepolis serves to remind us that those who create beauty in this world are often the most haunted among us....more info
- Fascinating, if not perfect
This autobiographical animated feature dealing with the coming of age of a young girl in Iran during the revolutionary period is witty and engaging all way through, as well as technically brilliant, yet its narrow middle class view makes you wince from time to time. Co director Marjanne Satrapi, born in 1969 into a progressive middle class Iranian family, tells how as a young girl she witnessed the fall of the shah, the coming of the Islamic regime, the brutal Iran-Iraq war, how she was sent during the mid 1980s to Austria by her family, where she saw first hand some of the nihilistic life style of European youth, how there she fell into drugs and almost die after a doomed love affair, how she returned to Iran in the early 90s, enrolling in the university and getting into an ill fated marriage before going to exile to France. Made in engaging black and white, 2D animation, and full of faux naif touches, the problem with this movie is Satrapi's inability to see what happened in Iran outside the narrow view of Iran's westernized middle class. In fact, the working class of Iran is virtually absent from the movie. And her personal complaints (about how her right to consume trash culture from the west was infringed) seems petty and trivial (to her credit, she does realize this from time to time, as when she meets an old childhood friend, a crippled veteran from the war). The film ugliest bit is when the girl's mother complains that the new administrator in a hospital in newly revolutionary Iran used to be a window washer....more info
- Sometimes A Single Voice Can Be Heard Where A Million Cannot
For its trimmed-down storytelling and visually-appealing animation style, the sub-titled Persepolis is a smart, interesting, creative movie that I enjoyed right up to its last twenty minutes, when alas it fizzled. If it had had a better ending, or even a more definite ending, it'd be five-stars all the way. I have seen Persepolis several times since buying it last month and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes an imaginative story or who wants to learn more about the Iranian Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, or the struggle for the stifled soul to breathe free inside a fundamentalist Islamic Republic. Persepolis does a grand job of putting faces onto Iranians of the extraordinary and mundane stripe, from a charming old grandmother, to a kindly uncle tragically murdered by revolutionaries, to everyday kids lethally persecuted for trying to have party. Above all Persepolis cracks many stereotypes and shows the uniqueness and goodness in everyone, even as it stares down those who would seek to crush the human spirit in the name of their God. It also irrefutably condemns the evils of Islamism, which is merely another guise for totalitarian of an all-too familiar order. Personally I enjoyed the segments of the movie set in Iran more than I did the forays into Europe, but those too served as nice contrasts, and overall this is a film that stands above most of what's out there lusting after your ever-dwindling entertainment dollar.
How about I call Persepolis four and a half stars and tell you you should see it?
- "Freedom always has a price"
"Persepolis" is an animated film based on Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel of the same name about her childhood in Tehran during the last Iranian revolution and coming of age after emigrating to Vienna. It is an extraordinarily ordinary story about an average woman coming to terms with herself and with the world around her. Did I say "average woman"? My bad. I meant dynamic, charming, intelligent, and fiercely individualistic. Ms. Satrapi's story is among the finest works ever animated and bestows upon the viewer the endless virtues of knowledge, a broadened mind, and a true perspective on humanity. "Persepolis" will break your heart, make you smile and laugh out loud, cheer, possibly sing, and restore your faith in humanity. The fact that this was passed over for an Oscar in favor of yet another mediocre Pixar effort (about a rat that controls a chef by pulling his hair, no less) is the ultimate proof positive that that award (or any other, really) has no merit whatsoever.
Young Marji walks down the street to the place where shady characters reside. As she passes each bootlegger, they whisper the names of the forbidden fruit they possess. "Lipstick" whispers one, "Jichael Mackson" mispronounces another. She continues on until she hears what she wants: "Iron Maiden". She quickly negotiates a price and makes off with her prize just as a group of overbearing religious figures tower over her. They have taken issue with her shoes: plain sneakers. Marjie insists they are for basketball, but another spots her Michael Jackson patch, a symbol of American greed. Then the coup-de-gras; she has "punk is not dead" scrawled across the back of her outfit. Thinking fast, Marjie bursts into tears, sobbing lies about her parents having died in the war with the Iraqis and a cruel guardian who will burn her with an iron if they turn her in. Safely back at home, having tricked the local oppressive religious posse, the young girl grabs a tennis racket as a guitar and bangs her head to the sweet, hard-earned reward of heavy metal. The scene then segues -music still rocking- to the frontlines of the war where the new Iranian Islamic rulers are sending young men unarmed to rush the Iraqi army, acting as human shields/martyrs. Their parents are rewarded by the government for their sons' sacrifices with little plastic keys which are promised to open the door to Heaven for their dead children. Such are the complications of everyday life in Iran at this time. The duality of these scenes speaks a lot for the power and message of this film. But while there is highly enlightening political commentary and historical information to be found here, the focus is on the everyday life and struggles of our protagonist with the horrors of her surrounding often being downplayed.
The animation is minimalist art of the highest stylistic brilliance. The endearing nature of Marjie and her family is only highlighted by the ultra-simplistic black and white pencil-and-paper artwork. All of the CG in the world could not improve on this film in any way; the focus is on story, characters, and stylistic integrity, as it should be. The film's philosophies run deep and broad, ranging from harsh commentaries on authority to harsh commentary on purposeless counterculture. Wisdom comes from Marjie's grandmother, from her imaginary chats with God, and her memories of her communist uncle. These are life lessons about integrity, prudence, and acceptance that one should always carry with them and produce many, many quotable quotes.
Do not think for a second that this film is all about heaviness of spirit and preachiness. No, no, no, no; nothing could be further from the truth. Ms. Satrapi is a brilliant social satyrist who fills "Persepolis" with pointed jokes, lighthearted moments, and heartwarming charm while pointing out that at heart, we are all the same. There is a time in Marjie's life where she becomes a lifeless, jaded cynic unable to do anything but watch TV and let life pass her by. Then one day, she wakes up angry again. The result is a musical montage that will likely make you laugh hysterically or jump out of your seat to sing along. Possiby both. This is just that kind of film. Throw in some animated love for Godzilla, Bruce Lee, and Terminator 2 and I am beyond sold.
The DVD has a few behind-the-scenes special features that show us the woman herself at work. Having already fallen in love with her animated doppelganger, seeing the vivacious Marjane Satrapi made flesh is a real treat. We get a view of the old-school animation processes and are able to watch Ms. Satropi act out different characters for the animators to see. This is nearly as much fun as the movie itself. Wonderful feature.
This is a near-perfect film that I would recommend to anybody who isn't going to run away from a mostly black and white animated film with subtitles. And if you are: well, enjoy your life of closed-minded cinematic ignorance. "Persepolis" is a revelation whose duty is to entertain us while reminding us just how good we have it and simultaneously educating us about a culture and history few in the West have made any attempt to understand. Ms. Satropi's insisted that this story be animated and not filmed for this reason: animated characters are more universally identifiable. Set a film in Iran and fill it with Iranians and you have an ethic film that many will subconsciously refuse to identify with. But with animation, all things are possible; even bridging a gaping cultural divide. But at it's heart, this is a film about the enthusiam of youth, the hardships of adulthood, and the triumph of personal integrity. Do not miss this.
- A Beautiful Representation of Strength
A non-conventional coming of age story set in Iran's Islamic revolution, this movie is touching, thought-provoking, sometimes funny and downright heartbreaking. I loved the simple animation that stayed true to the original form of the graphic novel of the same name.
After I saw this film, I read the book and fell in love with it too. I highly recommend checking that out as well, because there were a few things left out that I felt could have added a little more to the story. I think for dramatic effect they left out the part of the book when she actually became good friends with her first college roommate and went home with her for Christmas and had a great time. I think that story would have added to the movie because we could have seen Marji actually loosen up. Other than that, I have no other complaints. Great Movie!! ...more info
- Striking style, simplistic content...
I had read several reviews of this film before I saw it, and had come to expect something both cutting edge and offering a unique insight into the Iranian situation.
Instead I found a rather flat-footed retelling of the Iranian revolution where the height of the insight was that 'evil' regimes oppress women and don't let people have parties.
Nothing in this film tells us anything we don't already know, and instead of getting a sense that the Ayatollah genuinely infringed civil liberties or repressed free speech, he came across as a nasty party pooper who won't let our heroine have a social life.
She comes across just a tiny bit brattish rather than a genuine rebel and her outspokenness appears to be limited to one speech in a lecture theatre and some faux rebellions.
Although the animation is striking, it still doesn't feel very original, and the whole thing comes across like a graphic novel (which I believe it is), but more in the sense that it's a story simplified for 13 year-olds and is more concerned with making sure it doesn't alienate them than actually provoking thought or educating them.
Maybe I expected too much of, but it was just so-what for me. Disappointing.
- Good product and service
I paid for express shipping and my DVD arrived within a week as promised. It had sufficient packaging and was shrink wrapped. The DVD and its case had no damage or scratches whatsoever.
I had no problems with playing the DVD and the video quality was very good.
This DVD is for region 1. It could be played on my region-free DVD player and surprisingly, also my computer. So I've had no trouble with playing this DVD, although I can't guarantee it'll work with any computer because of possible software differences.
Overall, a happy customer~...more info
- Animating the battlefield against evil
Iran is still to these days in the focus of world wide attention. After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appearance in Clumbia University last year, it seems that nothing has been changed since the Islamic revolution that took place in 1978. Iran is a fundamentalist country oppressing freedom of speech not to mention the thousands who were brutally emprisoned and executed since the fled of the Shah. Persepolis - the name of the ancient capital of Persia during the Achaemenid Empire in 550-330 BC.
Alluding to ancient Persia is of no coincidence; it meant to bring to the open the tragedy of the people of Iran whose freedom is constantly denied by treaturous leaders. The comic book, or to be exact - the graphic novel written by Marjane Satrapi focuses on her expirience as a child grown up in between two eras - the Shah and Komeini, and the means the new regime took to indoctrinate its fundemental islamic ideology. The film is based on Satrapi's book, carefully adheres to its style by using straightforward simple images mostly in black and white telling the story of Satrapi's life in Iran as a child and in Vienna after she fled from her country. Being an animated film, it is not an entertaining film suitable for children. It is a poignant film which takes us through the harsh times Satrapi and her family went through the dark days of 1978 telling the story of the Iranian nation at large.
Ben Baruch Blich, ph.d.
History and Theory dept.
Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
- Evocative and emotional storytelling
"Persepolis", based on Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel, is one of those kind of films that acts not only as a well-constructed and thought-provoking film yet at the same time a reminder that animated films are not simply just for kids and parents looking to kill time or adults who are fascinated by robots and bizarre imagery like that from Japan. Its format is rather unique and indeed the method of telling a very adult and politic-centered story using an attractive visual style might seem a bit off-putting but that also makes the story stand out more and it becomes emotional without manipulative and comedic without being untasteful. In essence, it's a story about life...using pencils.
Based on novel creator and director Satrapi's life, the film follows Marjane as a young girl living in Iran. Dealing with the oppression and government control of the Shah and hoping for better days. That day comes when the Shah falls and a revolution happens but much to their dismay, the new government is just as worse with fierce laws concerning dress, speaking out about politics, music and social class of women. Marjane is sent away to Vienna but like any traumatic event, moving elsewhere doesn't mean you've entirely escaped your past and the influence of the war is just as powerful as it is anywhere.
Awhile ago, I had the pleasure/misfortune of watching another French animated film called "Renaissance", another visually-appealing film which wasn't geared towards children. Only problem was the story was incredibly dull and you remember the art style more than you remember the movie. "Persepolis" on the other hand not only has a unique style with black-and-white and more exaggerated movements and shots with occasional color sequences but the story is also intriguing. There's not much of a story so to speak and we focus on the progression and maturing of Marjane but the film never feels slow and sluggish and the story helps bring the characters to life, so to speak.
But a film concerning a war and revolution doesn't have to be depressing and indeed, there's plenty of humor to be found. Whether it's a pair of eyes poking out of a puff of exhaust Looney Tunes-style or just genuinely funny moments such as a scene concerning flushing alcohol from officers to Marjane herself as a character, the film works on many levels though I doubt kids would be into this. Only thing that didn't sit well with me is that the last 20 minutes or so don't really drag but you can tell the film's starting to slow down a bit, like a runner in a race pushing himself to the end. A weird sequence involving "Eye of the Tiger" is strangely funny but in retrospect, it's also a bit too unlike the rest of the film that it sticks out sore thumb-like.
I'd recommend watching the French dub with subtitles over the English dub since I don't mind the dub but it's rare for the English track to be better than the original track and I prefer the voices in the French one. We get some looks into the making of the film (but sadly, no feature-length commentary) but I'd recommend watching the film since it's so unlike what I normally watch in animation outside of Japan....more info
- Beautfiul and timely adaption of a great graphic novel
I was giddy with nervous anticipation when I first heard that there was to be a film version of Marjane Satrapi's brilliant graphic novels about her childhood in Iran during the 1970s-1980s. I loved her autobiographical stories so much and was worried that a film version would be a total let-down. Fortunately and according to the extra features on the DVD, it seems that Satrapi herself was the key creative force behind the production of the film and dictated many aspects of how her animated characters should move, talk and behave. The result is an absolutely lovely and engaging film with stark but artistically rendered black and white animation. The story itself is a compelling combination of war narrative, adolescent angst and comedy and provides a peek into the world of Iran's fundamentalist regime. ...more info
- Must buy
If you don't like subtitles than the English Dubbing is not bad. Brilliant imagery, great story, the only fallback is the film's ending. Buy it or trade for it, once you get it, you won't want to let it go. Funny, touching, beautiful....more info
The DVD was every bit as good as the book. Like most Americans who were well tuned into the Iranian hostage crisis, I had an extremly dim view of that country. Now, I understand that there is far more to Iran, that there are actually many decent people there....more info
- "Down with Shah Oppression! Up with ... Islamic Repression!!"
PERSEPOLIS is a terrific film that portrays a young girl's coming of age process against the background of political change in Iran. The rule of the Shah is finally overthrown amidst much optimism for a better life. Instead, the Islamic Republic fundamentalists who take over turn out to be even more oppressive than the Shah. As The Who sang, "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss." The film stops short of extending its time-line to the current Islamo-fascists and nuke-happy nut-job at Iran's helm currently.
Not that the West comes off much better in this tale. Marjane - the main character - lives part of her life in Western Europe but finds that it has its own problems, though torture and religious inspired oppression does not seem to be among them. There are interesting and touching bits of dialogue between Marjane and God, trying to find meaning in the suffering that she witnesses.
PERSEPOLIS is a wonderful film that casts a dismal pall over man's ability to get it right in the realm of political change. It is effective in spotlighting "man's inhumanity to man," and portraying the conflicts of an Iranian woman who is both rooted to and alienated from her homeland.
- Stylish animated glimpse into a totalitarian theocracy
This is a visually captivating movie, with graphics that are amazing in their starkness and simplicity. No overdone anime here, this comes from an European graphic novel by the heroine who had a lot of input (a la Frank Miller/Sin City). Everything is black and white, except for small flashes of color in Western locations.
Politically, a fascinating story, starting out the Shah's overthrow in 1979 and the author's childhood and struggle to find a society to fit into. We are reminded that the Shah, though despotic, was happily supported by the West, for oil and anti-communism. Plus snippets of the 8 year long Iran-Iraq war.
Later on, we are given a glimpse in what it might be like to grow up in a country where religious bigots impose their views on everyone. Like the ex-janitor who ends up running a hospital, probably because he can out-God the others. Or the policeman who threatens to rape a woman because her veil isn't modest enough.
The plot? Well, this is not a screenplay, but "just" someone's life story. Big difference, so accept that things are bit slower than you might expect.
I am not particularly anti-Islam myself. The West went through similar struggles with Christianity hundreds of years ago. The problem mostly isn't religion itself, it's a minority of the religious abusing their power to impose their flawed interpretation of their own religion.
A perfect companion DVD to Orwell's Animal Farm....more info
AMAZING! I would recommend this film to everyone. It's a wonderful story about coming to age during a turbulent time. A must see for anyone who has a heart and emotions. This film was heavy with comedic elements mixed throughout. It made me laugh, cry and really think. Don't be scared that it's a foreign film. You do have the option to play it in English, without subtitles. Definitely worth the money. Spoiler Alert: The ending is somewhat dissatisfying....more info
- Movie memoirs, it turns out, are as annoying as book memoirs.
Persepolis (Vincent Peronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, 2007)
I'm not sure why I expected the film version of Persepolis to be different than the book--which I enjoyed but wasn't nearly as impressed with as everyone else seems to have been--but I did. As it turns out, it wasn't different at all, save for making certain parts of the book stand out in even starker contrast to their surrounding scenes (such as the embarrassingly awful "Eye of the Tiger" sequence, which I can't believe anyone involved with the movie wasn't horrified enough to excise before this thing ever made it to a theater).
I'm the first to admit that my antipathy towards both book and movie stems from my dislike of memoirs, which tend to be the work of uninteresting people who have led uninteresting lives trying to cash in on the more interesting things that happened around them. Persepolis is no different in this regard (and Satrapi has since gone on two author more books, all of which are, unsurprisingly, either memoir or biography). If you're one of the millions who currently goes gaga over memoirs, you're probably going to love this. I don't like memoirs, and had the expected reaction. Half a star dropped for that painful "Eye of the Tiger" thing. * ?
- Artistic Accomplishment
From Pixar down, the general trend in animation over the last few years has been clear. The movement is towards ever more realistic and textured canvases that paint an exquisitely detailed world in glowing shades of pure, pixellated magic. Persepolis, however, is an exception to the rule, a throwback every bit as successful as Aardman's work with clay. This largely black-and-white, defiantly undetailed and sometimes stylised film could have been made at any point since the dawn of cinema, and yet it's a thoroughly modern affair.
An autobiographical tale that was written as a graphic novel, adapted for the screen and then co-directed by its chief character, Marjane Satrapi, this is a highly personal look at a situation of real complexity. Satrapi was six, born into a prosperous Tehran home, when the Iranian Revolution swept away the Shah Of Iran and the country's autocracy was replaced with extremist rule. The war with Iraq that raged for seven years then destroyed much of Iran's wealth, and the subsequent religious crackdowns killed any hope Satrapi and her family had of democratic freedom as well.
The film is at its strongest when examining the turbulent history of Iran through Marjane's eyes. Marjane-as-a-child is one of the most appealing characters in years, happy to embrace new ideas like the latest Igglepiggle and believing herself, briefly, to be a prophet appointed by God. That's not to say that she isn't spoiled, wilful and occasionally cruel - witness Marjane and friends deciding to arm themselves with nails and torture a classmate whose father worked for the secret police. But there's an innocence and exuberance to her schemes that is endlessly charming, and having a child as our guide perfectly pitches the history for those of us who know little about Iran's murky politics. In a sense, the film is the antithesis of most modern animation: where they tell a relatively simple story using complex instruments, this uses very basic tools to tell a story about a very complex time.
The film's second act, wherein Marjane grows up alone in Austria and loses her way, is less winning but still involving, a sometimes bleak counterpoint to her earlier optimism. But if that middle section introduces something of a minor note, the tempo picks up again with her return to a transformed, more hardline Iran. Still bolshy, Marjane doesn't fit into that strictly monitored society, but it's in that defiance that she rediscovers her zest for life.
That second half provides a powerful argument that our origins shape who we become - no matter how far we travel. Marjane can't be content in Europe after being sent into exile from her home, but equally can't stomach the restrictions of an Islamic state after being raised in a free Iran and then in Europe. The film is ultimately the story of her quest to find a balance between homeland and freedom, when her nation has failed to do the same. Satrapi's willingness to acknowledge, and make fun of, her own faults makes this a story with real depth, and in these hysterical times, the sight of a young girl standing up to fundamentalist bullies is a vital counterpoint to the West's tendency to tar all Middle Easterns with the same terrorist brush.
- Excellent cartoon depiction of real life drama
I had not seen a real good animated movie in a long time. This fit the bill even in its black an white form. This story of a Muslim woman living through a revolution and culture shock would be of great interest to a progressive open minded woman. It has many laughs as well. A perfect movie for the times. I don't think religious traditionalists would approve but a piece of work worth the scrutiny and dollar....more info
plot: Marjane Satrapi grows up during the rise of the fundamentalist regime in Iran.
animation: Lovely deco art style, it reminded me of Edward Gorey in some ways, and propaganda posters in other ways.
languages: french and english.
This film has a wonderful sense of reverence for family history, and at the same time a wonderful sense of irreverence for the local political ideologies which grip Iranian culture today. If you don't know what happened to women's rights when the Fundamentalist's rose to power in Iran, this film explains these things with simple, tough charm. It's important that this film even exists, imo. I think everyone should see it, whether they like it or not- it will give you alot to think about and hopefully, talk about.
If I have one problem with this film, it's that as the main character grows older and more disenchanted (while trying even harder to fit in) with the intolerance towards women in her society, the story turns to several pointless romances. After an hour and a half of feeling like a witness (thru Marjane's recollections) to an avalanche of personal tragedy and the humor that comes with surviving it, we jarringly go into a weird romantic interlude, where Marjane has a string of crappy relationships, gets married, gets divorced, leaves Iran yet again (and presumably for good) at which point the film ends.
Kindof like someone pulling the needle across the vinyl before a good song ends, and I understand she's making a political statement about how she feels; that there's nothing she has left but the memories of her family, uncle and grandmother... its just that the romantic interlude cheapened the power of it.
For this viewer.
Still a damn important cultural document, though. See it....more info
- A Headstrong Woman's Youth in Iran, Told Through Striking B&W Animation.
"Persepolis" is based on Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novels of her childhood and youth in Iran. Satrapi co-directed and co-wrote the film with Vincent Paronnaud, and she is careful to say that it should not be taken as a literal representation of her life, because the narrative technique in film is so different from graphic novels that some liberties are inevitable. The story begins in 1978 Tehran, as 9-year-old Marjane, with a childish and uncomprehending political eye, witnesses the last days of the Shah's regime. Initial optimism turns to fear as the nation's new leadership institutes Draconian reforms. Fearing for their outspoken daughter, Marjane's parents send her to high school in Vienna. After an eventful flirtation with Western culture, Marjane heads back to Tehran for university, family, and more frustration with that nation's oppressive religious regime.
"Persepolis" is created from hand-drawn animation, stark black-and-white foregrounds that tend to be against muted backgrounds. Though the characters are illustrated with relatively simple lines, the texture of other elements in the scenes is often pronounced and inviting. Marjane Satrapi chose to make an animated film in part because she wanted it to be abstract, not identified solely with a particular place and time, and not an "ethnic" film. She's correct in thinking that animation removes the ethnic quality, even from a film that takes place in a foreign country among people speaking a foreign language. The animation style is thoroughly enjoyable and deceptively simple. The clean lines focus attention on what is important, while peripheral elements create mood.
I don't think that "Persepolis" has anything pointed to say. It expresses one person's experiences with passion and humor. Marjane laments what happened to her family and country. She remarks on the advantages and shortcomings of life in Europe. I think more than a commentary on Iran or oppressive governments, "Persepolis" expresses the conflicting emotions that immigrants from the developing world to the First World often feel: Contentment and optimism in the new opportunities that they enjoy. Frustration and nostalgia for their native countries that continue to struggle with basic social and economic issues. This is where "Persepolis" most succeeds and finds itself expressing thoughts and emotions common to millions of people. In French with optional subtitles.
The DVD (Sony 2008): The film was recorded in French, but the directors also recorded an English version, so you can watch the film in either language or with subtitles in English or Spanish. There are 5 featurettes on the disc. Most are in French with subtitles. "The Hidden Side of Persepolis" (30 min) is a French making-of documentary. Satrapi takes us behind the scenes to meet the film's animators, cast, and other technicians, who explain their work. "Behind the Scenes of Persepolis" (9 min) was made for the English version. It interviews the director and some of the American cast. In "Cannes Press Conference Q&A" (29 min), the directors, producers, and French cast take questions from the press. "Selected Scene Commentaries" presents 3 sequences with commentary by Satrapi, Paronnaud, or actress Chiara Mastroianni. "Animated Scene Commentaries" present another 3 sequences plus some tests that were not used, comparing the film to the storyboards, with commentary by Satrapi. ...more info
- Necessary to understand the value of freedom
I recommend this movie to evreyone, specially to those that doubt about the good of freedom. This film has a lot to do in some way with wat is happening in Venezuela. A similar type of government is destroying all sorts of liberties. You can see through this film the luck we have to live in free countries and the importance of the values of a free society. The animation is really good and a some scenes are funny. A must see...more info
- Surprisingly powerful
We have become accustomed to slick, technically amazing cartoons produced by Disney and Pixar. Here is something completely different -- an animated movie produced by humans drawing with pencils on paper in black and white where the emphasis is on the story. We experience the Iranian Islamic Revolution and its brutal aftermath through the eyes of one young Iranian girl and her family.
This is recent history that needs to be retold and remembered because Iran looms so large on the world stage today. With its president spewing hatred on Israel and its scientists racing to acquire a nuclear weapon, we should remember how these extremists came to power and what they did to their own people once they had grasped it.
The movie is scrupulously fair, depicting the brutality of the Shah followed by the much greater savagery of the Islamic regime which succeeded it. We see women harassed for "improper" dress, parties busted, families searched for illegal alcohol. We see the hardship and suffering Iranians had to endure during the 8-year war with Iraq. Most of all, we see the effect of such intolerance and extremism on the delicate psyche of one bright, intelligent woman who wants nothing other than to grow up to be free and to realize her potential.
There are many charming and funny incidents in this movie -- it's not a complete downer. The serious story it tells is one we can all identify with. ...more info
- not as great as the book
"Persepolis" has the distinction of being one of the four or five books I've read and raved about BEFORE they were turned into acclaimed films.
This film is certainly above average, but I don't think it can touch the two graphic novels.
I'm not sure why that is, though. The same tone and style is used in both, and certainly Marjane Satrapi's creative control infuses both.
But the graphic novel was more episodic: the film bleeds everything together, creating the illusion that it's telling a coherent story. But the viewer becomes vaguely uncomfortable when he realizes the film isn't telling a coherent story, more of a pastiche. The graphic novel could get away with this, but the movie can't.
Also, the book allowed you to pause, think, and digest. Movies, by their nature, do not.
And the inability to let things sink in before you moved forward definitely blunted the effect of some scenes....more info