Previously: Le Roi et l'Oiseau
What is it?Based on an autobiographic graphic novel of the same name, Persepolis tells the story of Marjane Satrapi, from Iran to France, via Austria. The film was directed by Satrapi herself and Vincent Paronnaud, and released in 2007.
We follow Marjane Satrapi's life from her early years to the day she arrived in France. The movie is basically the story of Marji and her family, but it is also a political one; it informs us of Iran's troubled times through the seventies and eighties, and it does so in almost a documentary kind of way.
Almost, because the filmmakers didn't forget they were making a movie, and the political side of the story is treated in a very cinematographic fashion - there's even one scene where Iran's History is explained with a puppet show.
The film can be poignant and melancholic at times, but is also incredibly funny when it chooses to be. The dialogue is simple and witty - sometimes outrageous - yet it oddly never feels out of place, even with such an overwhelming backdrop. It helps Persepolis be entertaining.
The black and white look is respectful to the original material, but the way the characters are animated makes it work as a film. The design is certainly more rounded than it is in the graphic novel, and the lines have that certain clarity which I believe makes hand-drawn animation so unique.
Persepolis captures the childhood and adolescence of its main character and her family with a lot of modesty, while also being informative about Iran's situation. It's a constant play between humor, message and drama, and while I know a lot of movies that entertain me more than Persepolis, I know few who are as flawless. Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud aimed for something very difficult, and it's a success on all fronts.
Next: Ernest & Celestine