In 1970s Iran, Marjane 'Marji' Statrapi watches events through her young eyes and her idealistic family of a long dream being fulfilled of the hated Shah's defeat in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. However as Marji grows up, she witnesses first hand how the new Iran, now ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, has become a repressive tyranny on its own. With Marji dangerously refusing to remain silent at this injustice, her parents send her abroad to Vienna to study for a better life. However, this change proves an equally difficult trial with the young woman finding herself in a different culture loaded with abrasive characters and profound disappointments that deeply trouble her. Even when she returns home, Marji finds that both she and homeland have changed too much and the young woman and her loving family must decide where she truly belongs. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It's quite unusual for a writer to adapt its own book to the screen, especially when it's a comic-book (well, Frank Miller's done it, but that's another story), and especially when it's an autobiographical comic book. That's the originality of this movie, which is the adaptation of a autobiographical graphic novel by its very author. "Persepolis" deals with the life, and especially the youth of Marjane Satrapi, in Iran, during the reign of the Shah and the Islamic revolution. But if the memories could be easily told alone in front of a blank paper, isn't it harder to be true and sincere when you are surrounded by a all animation crew ?
That's the great achievement of the movie : to be true to the comics and therefor, to the life of Marjane. The best parts of it are all about her personal relations, with her grandmother or her uncle. You really have the feeling that she relates all this events to praise their memories and who they were. On the other side, the political scenes and historical point of view that supposedly are the goal of the movie seem to me a little less good than the family or personal souvenirs. It may be true but it seems a little bit simple and even cliché sometimes (see for instance the history of the Shah for all audiences). The personal view on the repercussion of the Islamic repression is way better than this kind of big exposes. The death of a young man trying to escape the police after a party or the attitude of a man insulting her mother in a parking tells us more about the regime in Iran than the speech the movie sometimes (but not so often) gives us.
So, paradoxically, the more personal the movie gets, the truer it is. The all rapport the difficulties to left your country and to adapt to another world seems for instance very honest and touching. The childhood period, told in a comic strip style is both funny and melancholic. In the end, this movie is far from being a movie about Iran, but only tells an individual life, crying for freedom in a country were a woman can't reach it, but transfigured by personal memories and a strong animated point of view, that uses all the techniques and styles a comic-book adaptation could offer.
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