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HomeMovie Reviews

Persepolis

  | March 07, 2014 09:48 IST
Persepolis
  • Genre:
    Animation
  • Cast:
    Chiara Mastroianni (Marjane 'Marji'), Catherine D
  • Director:
    Vincent Paronnaud Marjane Satrapi
Now draw your attention to one of the finest, most touching films of 2007. The fact that it has made it to the Indian theatres was a bit of a surprise to me, really. It's called Persepolis, based on the wonderfully warm graphic novel of the same name. It's directed by Vincent Paro-nnaud and Marjane Satrapi. Marjane had also written the two-part graphic novel. This is her personal story of growing up in Iran through the '70s to the '90s. The period that's shown in the film is also a turning point of sorts for Marjane's country. This is when the American-backed, corrupt regime of the Shah of Iran was overthrown. That had happened because of people's want; a people's movement. What ended up replacing the Shah in Iran though, was an even more regressive regime of religious fanatics. They established a scarily unnatural Islamic Republic in 1979. Persepolis is an astounding political film. Its sweep is extremely wide. It pans across the Iran-Iraq war, the Islamic revolution; the communist movement. We watch a world where suddenly women can't wear what they want. Everybody cannot drink what they feel like drinking. And music is secretly peddled like drugs. At the same time, the film still remains a gentle, personal, intimate story of a girl. She falls in and falls out of love. She moves in and moves out of Iran. She shows us other stories of courage and valour in the face of political crisis. Yet, she never once loses her sense of humour. The movie is done entirely in simplistic two-dimensional animation. Nothing fancy about the technique. And yet, for most part, you're absolutely glued. That tells you the power of a story. Around last year, I did get a chance to spend some time with the youth of Iran, in Iran. And let me tell you, Persepolis is the story of every urban, liberal youth of that country. These kids are not just secular. They have in fact turned into atheists by now. Each one of them is dying to leave that iron-curtain country. Everywhere they go they have their big brother, the present Ayotallah Khameini looking over them. They feel like prisoners in their own country. They really don't deserve that government. It's not a surprise then that the second largest number of bloggers in the free world write in from Iran. The Iranians themselves are unlikely to watch this brilliant film in the cinemas of their own country. I don't even need to check. I am sure this film is banned. They ban everything there. In India, it's released in very selected theatres in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. In case it's not playing at a cinema near you. I strongly suggest you catch this on DVD. You'll love it.
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