Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
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Actors: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian
Directors: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War, Animation
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 fundamen... more »
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Damian M. (ratchet)
Reviewed on 3/11/2009...
A wonderfully animated tale of the Islamic Revolution from the perspective of a young girl until her early womanhood. Funny how the worm turns. Animation was great, story was nothing I cared about or with which I could identify.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
"Freedom always has a price"
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 06/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""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.
The smell of jasmine beckons me home. Stunning... simply stu
Pasha Supreme | 01/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every once in a while a great revelation comes in cinema... and we have one here!
Based on the graphic novels The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, this 90 minute film is a superb translation of the original source material. The heavily stylized black and white cartoon is very powerful yet remains simple in it's universal emotional core. The charming little girl we are introduced slowly grows up to be a defiant woman in a place that is not for her. As we go along with the journey characters come and go, but the threat of Marjane's story never becomes weak, every plot point makes an impact. The melancholy score and spirited rendition of Eye of the Tiger add a wonderful layer to the whole experience.
This film is a breath of fresh air in this cynical age of high concept mega tent-pole films. For Iranians, it's a bittersweet journey home, and for Americans... a great chance to see that Iranians are not the monsters portrayed in the never ending game of politico.
A magnificent black and white film for an era of oh so gray problems."
More Human, More Touching, More Emotional Than Most Live Act
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 02/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marjane Satrapi, lives with her parents (voiced by Catherine Deneuve and Simon Abkarian) in Iran during the difficult times leading up to and from the removal of the Shah. Marjane frequently spends time with her grandmother (voiced by Danielle Darrieux) who bristles at the new restrictions placed on women. As Marjane (voiced by Chianni Mastrianni) grows up, she learns about new things, including rock music, and wears band t-shirts under her traditional dress, attends parties to make out with boys, and has remarkable luck staying one step ahead of the police. Eventually, things become so bad in Iran, and everyone realizes Marjane will never reach her full potential there, that she is sent to live in Vienna. Later, she returns, heartbroken, and can't handle the religious and political pressures placed on the young people of her generation. She eventually immigrates to France.
Strangely, what I have just described is the synopsis for the new animated film "Persepolis". This new film from France has been winning many awards and garnering a lot of attention. Even more strangely, Marjane Satrapi bases it on semi-autobiographical graphic novels. The idea alone is enough to garner the project attention, but the end result is very good, giving us a fascinating look at the life of one girl who grew up in a difficult time, in a difficult place, and chose a fairly unique way to tell her story.
Satrapi's drawing style is eye-catching. Seemingly very simplistic, she catches a lot of detail by showing the pattern on a dress, for example, to make the drawing seem more significant than a simple black and white line drawing. Throughout, she captures little details like this, allowing us to get a glimpse of what life was like in this tumultuous part of the country's history.
Satrapi and her co-director Vincent Paronnaud, have adapted the unique look of Satrapi's graphic novels to this film. I am glad the people backing this film gave her the freedom to retain this unique visual look, rather than try to use CGI or more realistic animation. In a way, this more simplistic style lends itself better to the tone and scope of the story. Yes, there are a lot of larger things happening around her, but the story is about Marjane and her family, and needs to remain fairly intimate. Because the filmmakers stick with the style originated by Marjane, probably be at home in a newspaper comic strip, the film seems to convey Marjane's plight in a more realistic way.
I have read Marjane has been very influenced by Italian Neorealism and German Expressionism and this is very evident in her drawing style. As Marjane hears stories of other family members, the drawings take on the appearance of woodcuts, moving in a stilted, jangled fashion. These moments also help to reinforce the romantic nature a child would give to these horrific events. Stories become fairy tales to young boys and girls, so Marjane is unable to realize the events being described are real or dangerous, and gives them a romantic, daring edge while they are scaring her. There is an old silent animated film called "The Adventures of Prince Achmed". In this film, the characters are all paper cuts and the animation is done by moving these figures every frame or so. This style is so closely related to fairy tales it is almost impossible to think of anything else when you see it.
The film is also largely composed in black and white, with brief moments of color at the beginning and end. These moments help to highlight the fact the bulk of the story is a remembrance, a dream of a time past. All of these choices are the right choices and help to make this story right, giving us a real feel for what Marjane experienced growing up in this environment.
As Marjane gets older, she becomes more rebellious and more daring. She buys bootleg copies of her favorite rock musicians, wears a Michael Jackson button underneath her traditional Muslim wear, and attends parties with boys. But all of these things are strictly forbidden and she and her friends have to be teenagers in a fairly clandestine environment, adding an element of danger to the evening.
As Marjane gets older, she also begins to question authority and lash out at the people in charge. These activities coincide with the growing unrest in their country, and the government's increased efforts on cracking down on these same activities. Her parents realize the country will only get worse before it gets better, so they arrange for Marjane to live in Vienna. With this newfound freedom, Marjane goes a little wild and finds it difficult to live with her host family.
She eventually returns to Iran, a more confident, headstrong, rebellious woman. As she grows, so does the crackdown imposed by the government and things are worse than ever. But life in Vienna also beat Marjane down a bit and she returns a bit defeated, a bit worse for wear. She tries to live up to the ideals imposed by the government, and becomes depressed by having so many civil liberties taken away. A well-timed conversation with her grandmother leads her to take the next step and move to Paris, leaving her family behind.
"Persepolis" is almost instantly engaging; the style of animation and the portrayal of a young Marjane draw the viewer into this world. As Marjane grows, we learn about this country, it's struggles, and more importantly Marjane's struggles to live in such a place. And during the final moments of the film, "Persepolis" is a very moving film; the intimate story has really given us a feel for Marjane, her parents and her grandmother, and their struggles. As we watch Marjane leave all of this behind, for a new life, it is very difficult to feel anything but moved.
The most amazing thing about "Persepolis" is that it is more real, more touching and more emotional than most other films. And it is animated.