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Poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution.
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These days when a graphic novel is made into a film, they're usually films like 'Sin City', 'The Watchmen' or '300'. So when 'Persepolis' was released it was a huge change from the usual graphic novels that have been made into films. The film is based on the original graphic novels, which are biographical of the main character and director Marjane Satrapi. This is a review for the English dub.
The film is based on the director and author Marjane Satrapi's early life during the Iranian revolution, showing how everyone had to be careful of their actions, what they wore and even what they listened too, all while the main character was growing up as a bit of a rebel, this is shown in a very honest and forthright way by the author and director but with a lot humour thrown in too. This film will educate, amuse and shock all at once, which shows how talented the director/author actually is and how she overcame the terrible and horrific things she witnessed to create such a masterpiece based on her own experiences.
The film often delivers shocking revelations and shows a grim reality to the viewer in a way that will make the viewer gasp with disbelief to the fact that some one actually went though the ordeals that Marjane has gone through and 'Persepolis' will genuinely educate the viewer on the events of the Iranian revolution. The best and most memorable examples being when Marjane receives the news about her uncle Anouche and the present he left for her, this will bring a tear to the eye of even the most cold hearted people, Marjane's teenage exile to Vienna and how her situation changed for the worse, when she became homesick for everything and everyone she left behind and the tragic repercussions of a party that would seem like an ordinary every day thing but is forbidden in her country. Of course it has a lot of the director/authors sense of humour thrown in too, so you will have some laugh out loud moments, especially when she buys her first banned 'Iron Maiden' tape or she meets her first boyfriend. These moments lighten up such a sad story but show the will power behind the main character and is a very good technique to make such an interesting story more personnel.
The first thing you'll notice about the animation is that it is mostly in black and white, this is used to put emphasis on the fact that Marjane is thinking back to her childhood years and her teenage years, only the present day is switched to colour. This is a strange technique to use, as most animated features have such vibrant colours in order to stand out, but it is because this film does something new and original by using black and white, that it stands out so much more then any brightly animated film. As it is in mostly black and white you do have a tendency to take the film more seriously, of course the plot alone is serious enough, but it does something new and innovative for animation these days.
The style of animation itself is a little bit basic, with very little detail and plain visuals, the film could have been criticised for the visuals, but in reality the style of the visuals is so compelling and interesting in its own way, so there is no need for any overblown visuals, as the film accomplishes a high standard with just the basic animation. Although, the animation is very sleek and moves with such precision it is amazing and a joy to watch, it is definitely in a league of its own and is original in the animation alone.
The cast all perform to an exceptional standard, with Sean Penn playing Marjane's father and Iggy Pop playing her uncle Anouche, it has some very big names in the film industry and they all make an emotional performance and their performances really do make you care about the characters they are portraying and makes you, the viewer, really care about the characters fate. The best performance however is by Chiara Mastroianni, who plays the teenage/adult Marjane, she puts that much feeling and spirit into her performance, you pay attention to every detail of what she says and why. This of course makes us more aware of the plot and makes us that more aware of what the character and director have actually gone through.
'Persepolis' tells us the harrowing truth behind the Iranian revolution through the eyes of the author, it's a compelling film with memorable moments, characters and shows us how people triumph over adversity, told with such style, class and humour. This is a film that truly deserves to be called a classic and so rightly deserved an Oscar nomination.