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Chevalier Bayard
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Postby Chevalier Bayard » Tue 10 Jul, 2007 20:26

Yesterday with Liewen, we've seen a movie which, after a too long silent time, has given me again the desire to talk about movies here, beginning by this one: Persepolis


Persepolis is the adaptation on screen of a comic books serie drawn by Marjane Satrapi around her memoirs first as a young child growing up in Iran at the end of the 70's~beginning of the 80's, then as a teenage Iranian girl a bit lost in a Europe so far for her known World and, finally, as a young woman who has become a foreign in her own country...


The movie begins in 1978 when Marjane, 8 years old and Bruce Lee's fan, fantasies about herself becoming the next and last great prophet who will bring happiness an joy to her followers.

She suddenly sees her landmarks collapse while the fall of the Shah of Iran is destitute by the people, full of hope. As members of her family are released she  learns new words like "communism" or "proletariat" which open a totally new World to her, growing full of rebellion and with a sharp tongue.


She has the gift of gab and as the Islamic Republic is, little by little, taking power in Iran, she often makes herself noticed by the population which, for good reasons, scares her parents.

In 1982 the war starts with Iraq. The Islamic government , now totally in place, needs troops to defend the country and works hard on making fanatics from the children, promising, for example, them heaven for a martyr's death... The fanatics are everywhere. Madness and paranoia fall on the country.

In order to protect her, Marjane's parents take the hard decision to send their 13 years old daughter in Europe.


In Vienna, Marjane founds a totally different World from the one she knows where it is difficult for her to find her landmarks, especially as this incredible change of environment is added to the usual problems of teen years...

After 10 years I'll let you discover watching the movie, Marjane goes back to Iran, most probably to find back her dears and her home, finally safe after the war end with Iraq. Sadly things are not as simple there too...


I've enjoyed a lot watching Persepolis and was very enthusiastic about it getting out the movie theater. I am still today, even if I won't mark with the 6/6 I might have given it then.

First the good points: the overall design is not very original but, still, efficient and enjoyable. For the French version the voice-cast is top-ranked with actresses like Catherine Deneuve and her as famous daughter Chiara Mastroiani, joined by Danielle Darrieux.

The beginning of Persepolis, through the eyes of the young Marjane is really enjoyable. Marjane really made me think about Quino's Mafalda with her sincere rebellion, her true conviction in humanism, totally exacerbated by her child naivety.


And there comes directly the only true bad point of the movie, according to me. In fact even if Marjane grows older on the screen, the average vision of the society doesn't evolve much. It implies for sure very strong "shortcuts" regarding the events and environment description.

I've found the end of Marjane years in Vienna quite confusing and the last part in Iran divides the population between good people and bad people (fanatics). A far too simple vision which has senses only in a child eyes. This gives the movie a kind of "Disneyan" sight which, finally, might deserve more than it could serve, the position taken against the government in place. There is no possible way to defend such a nightmarish government but I would have expected a more profound analysis.

Seeing Persepolis you just cannot understand why this government is still in place at the end of the movie, why the people who have kicked the Shah out (for reasons not really explained as well in the movie, which is then understandable as explained through a conversation between young Marjane and her father) doesn't take the arms again... but maybe it's because I am far too cynical for seeing the World easily through children's eyes ;)

Whatever, as said before, Persepolis is still a very good entertainment which is far to be brainless and reminds you how lucky you are to just have born in a country where "Human Rights" does mean something today...

I give it a very well deserved 4/6 and invite you to see it as soon as you'll be able to ;) ... er0005.swf


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Re: Persepolis

Postby Liewen » Tue 10 Jul, 2007 23:48

So far I thought the best movie I had seen this year was The Life of Others (das Leben der Anderen)... Well it is now the 2nd best film I've seen this year. Persepolis is definitely worth its 6/6.

This autobiographic-like fiction about the young Marjane is a very moving story... and an universal one, about a little girl becoming a big one through 1 war and 3 revolutions...

Both in the voices and the pictures (maybe because, unlike most of motion animated pictures, the voices were recorded before the cartoons were drawn, or maybe because there is no numeric touch in it, all human), there is something deeply human and universal, that I had not seen in a movie for a very long time.

I do not think, as Chevalier Bayard, that the vision of Marjane Satrapy  is too manichean or, worst even, a bit "Disneyan".
I think that it is a truly deeply expressionist vision of her own story/fiction. It is the way this story NEEDS to be told, with these projections of a distorted and totally subjective reality to create emotional effects (for people who confuse it with a Disneyan way of life, please read "expressionism" in Wikipedia.)

The story is great, but I really fell in love with the aesthetics qualities of the movie : there are Fritz-Lang-ian touches everywhere (Vienna influence ?): the uses of shadows, the animation of black and white (the mutawain ladies becoming black snakes, ...). The drawing is both very simple and very expressionist, and yet, sometimes it is beautiful as in a Persian miniature, with beautiful flower patterns (ie end trailer), characters seen from their side view...

This movie is a true 6/6

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Postby Nau of Sands » Fri 03 Aug, 2007 13:53

I put a 5/6, i found it both moving and entertaining, with a very original way of telling. An amination picture that looks like no other before it. Really good.

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