Saturday, June 26, 2010

Movie Review: Persepolis

Shocked shocked that I did not post a review of "Persepolis" when I saw it. It is the movie adaptation of the giant comic book (graphic novel) detailing a girl's maturation while the Iranian revolution and later social, political, cultural changes unfolded. It is a French film, so it is subtitled. This film came out in 2007, and with current events unfolding, was well timed and received plenty of praise.

The praise is well deserved. The female lead is one of the best female characters I've seen in years. My wife was constantly saying "this kid/teen/woman is awesome". A rebel within a highly oppressive society is someone people will rally around, and her actions can have meaning or can be frivolous small expressions of freedom and individuality. When she dips into immaturity or manipulation, her grandmother sharply reminds her of her stupidity. Her story is fantastic to watch unfold.

Her grandmother's relationship to her is the heart of the story. Her grandmother is the embodiment of "Old Persia" and the connections to time without mullahs, without secret police forces, and before the Shah. She is the reminder of the betrayal in Iran of the people by both the Shahs and later the mullahs (when they imprison and kill her son). There are simple gramma-granddaughter exchanges between them that are fantastic. Dialogue about how she keeps her breatss so round or to stop being so dramatic over a divorce are great additions in the middle of a movie with such a sad tale.

Her story is sad, as is the story of Iran. Scenes of the dying 'martyrs' and bearded policemen are sad reminders of what goes on today in other parts of the Middle East. I have seen this twice, and could rewatch it over and over. This is a well done animated film, and while heavy at times, is an enjoyable watch.

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