Movie Review: Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi co directed and co wrote this film along side Vincent Paronnaud, based on the comic book she wrote and illustrated, based on her life.

This is the Marjane Satrapi show, an auto-biopic of sorts, and it’s pretty damn good.

The feature chronicles the early life of Marjane and how she evolves in an ever changing and cruel world. It’s a fascinating film as the main setting – Iran, pre, during and post revolution – is just as much of a character as Marjane herself. Having to constantly adapt to the harsh nature of reality.

Marjane’s life is one of intrigue and hardship, growing up in an oppressed country, she witnesses the dawn, execution and unfortunate culmination of a revolution, an experience that is unfathomable to most.

The art and animation style mirrors that of Marjane’s comic and it has a rather fluid quality that genuinely makes it an extremely visually interesting film. Interesting proportions and contortions can be created to accentuate character or tone and silhouettes are used in a marvellous way. The film is nothing less than stunning, in an extremely stylised way, which if anything adds more to its appeal.

Having a cartoon art style exemplifies the violence and adult themes when they’re on screen and add a certain memorable flair to the moment that might not have been replicable in live action.

My one gripe with the film is that when it came to the end, it didn’t really feel like the end, I wanted to know what happened next. I was completely engrossed by this piece and saying the one complaint is ‘I want more’ really does attest to the films quality. However, I can’t really complain, the film is based on true events after all.

Maybe in a few years Marjane will create a sequel, or at least a spiritual successor. I’d definitely watch it and I’d definitely recommend this film.

Ps. An autobiographical comic book and then film adaption is such a well realised idea that I’m surprised the format hasn’t been more regularly pursued.


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