Monday Jul 23, 2007

Persepolis

Persepolis is a an animated version of the 4 volume graphic novel of the same name covering the life of a young Iranian girl. I found it yesterday evening hanging around my parents house, and finished reading in the early morning hours. As the film was playing tonight in Fontainebleau, I immediately ran out to see it. It is a shorter but extremely beautiful version of the graphic novel, and very clearly deserves the Grand Prix at this year's Cannes film festival.

Persepolis is an autobiography of an Iranian girl, Marjane Satrapi, as she grows up in a liberal family in the 1970ies and 1980ies. It is both a bildungsroman, and a fascinating recent history of Iran. It shows her witnessing as a child the fall of the Shah, the short period of hope and freedom before the process was taken over by the Islamic Revolution, which brought in purges and the brutal war with Irak which cost over a million lives. To save her from herself, her well off parents manage to send her to Austria to finish her education at a French college there... I won't reveal more about the harsh reality and deep beauty of the plot. One thing is clear. This is a seriously beautiful and intelligent cartoon that will turn any skeptic of this art form mum.

Watch the movie if you can, but otherwise read the novel. They compliment each other nicely. The novel goes into a lot more detail than the film has time for, and those details are really worth it.

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