Review written on: January 16th, 2008

Persepolis Review

This animated film taps into the autobiographical comics of Marjane Satrapi in the backdrop of her youth in a trying period of history.

As a child in politically tense Iran in the late 1970s, the young Marjane (voice of Gabrielle Lopes Benites) certainly has her childlike na?vete to complement one feisty personality. Living with her parents (voices of Catherine Deneuve and Simon Abkarian), and often visited by her hilarious, yet infinitely wise grandmother (voice of Danielle Darrieux), she is taught to feel pride in herself, her family and her cultural upbringing, even though the world around her is changing very quickly. With the stories told of her family?s royal and political connections, and the ramifications of certain actions, Marjane does start to doubt something that kept her secure: her sense of spirituality.

While she is growing up, naturally, she gradually learns to be her own person and finds that the culture she was raised in no longer fits her beliefs. An older and somewhat wiser Marjane (now voiced by Chiara Mastroianni), is looking to rebel against the harsher conditions in the land, and does so by doing something that most of us who never experienced such conditions would find quite absurd: buying bootleg Iron Maiden tapes. As the strife in the country is not alleviating by any means, her parents send her off to a French lyc?e in Austria. Yes, she has found personal and literal freedom by leaving, but she still feels and considers herself to be an outsider. She does return to Iran and tries to re-acclimate and reacquaint herself to the culture, but, truth be told, she has changed quite a bit, possibly for the better.

I ran the gambit with emotions through this film. I was thoroughly impressed, entertained, saddened, and enthralled by everything shown to me. From what I?ve seen, the amount of Marjane?s personal growth cannot be fathomed unless you have lived through it. Plain and simple. I can say, with absolute certainty, that if you were to miss this film, it would be quite a shame.


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