we can’t be the only ones who’ve seen this. it came highly recommended by our friends jane and karen in boulder, not to mention the majority of reliable film critics, but i fear i found it a little disappointing. which is not to say i disliked it. the animation is wonderful, and a refreshing change from the pixar-realism of american animation, or for that matter the magical miyazaki style. however, the narrative was a little flat. the film may just be inheriting the graphic novel’s lack of thematic complexity (i have not read it), but i thought there was no real interesting connection made between the coming of age story and the potted history of the iranian revolution. by which i mean that the two were just there together, and neither illuminated or shaded the other in an interesting way. i appreciated the film (and the graphic novel’s, i presume) resistance to the mapping of personal growth onto a journey of salvation to the west, which is all too common a feature of the genre, but it would have been more interesting if the film paid more attention to questions of gender within the iranian revolution. from the little i know of it, i understand that older women, especially from the non-westernized classes were a large, public part of the revolution. and, of course, class itself is mostly elided here. i don’t wish to suggest that the story of a westernized, (presumably) upper-middle class kid cannot be the central story of a critique of the iranian revolution, but it needed to be situated a little more. why does she go to french school in tehran in the first place? how does her family have contacts in vienna and paris? (and, as sunhee asked, why is the film in french to begin with?) how does her immediate family survive in a time when all their radical friends are disappearing?

anyone else?

One thought on “persepolis

  1. I find the books–maybe particularly part one, which stays in Iran–far more effective, addressing most of your critique: class is crucial, gender and revolution are far more complexly examined, the structural relationships between Marji’s and the country’s development are more fully realized. I liked the movie, mostly, but I fear it collapsed and condensed in ways that closed the film up for me. Your review seems dead-on to me. Go read the book/s. (Part 2 didn’t do as much for me.)

    Satrapi lives in France, and I think her work first came to prominence there, so I get that the film grew in production there (and thus is Frenchified). I found it weird to have Sean Penn and others on the english audio track on the dvd. I’d toggle casually back and forth between Catherine Deneuve and I think Gena Rowlands….

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