In a not awesome year for movies, Persepolis comes as a last-minute ray of glimmering gold. It opens on Chirstmas and if you are interested in human beings and what may happen on our planet in the very near future, you should see it. Read more on the film after the jump.
In the animated film Persepolis, the story of Iran in the ’70s and ’80s is told from the perspective of a young girl (and, eventually, a young woman) named Marjane, who comes from an educated and politicized family. Persepolis is adapted from the comic books written and illustrated by Marjane Satrapi and the film was directed by her and Vincent Paronnaud. Though the events depicted are based on Satrapi’s experiences, she doesn’t consider it her own story. “Autobiographical for me is stuff that you do because you have problems with your family and friends and you don’t feel like you can talk about it with them, so you make a book to solve your problems,” she says. “I make myself a main character to talk about what is around me.” Satrapi now lives in France, but her parents remain in Iran. Though Persepolis won’t be released there, “that does not mean it’s not going to be seen,” she says, alluding to the country’s cultural black market that introduced her to Iron Maiden and Bruce Lee. While she did devote herself to artifacts of western culture in her younger years, Satrapi did not start creating comic books until she was in her late twenties and already in Paris. Created in the post-Maus tradition of political comics, Persepolis seeks to define Iran by its people, not by its fundamentalist leaders. In Satrapi’s sometimes magical and often terrifying Tehran, the heroes are the ones who never fire bullets.