Thursday, September 04, 2008

Movies: Persepolis

Revolution can be fun at first, as "Persepolis" demonstrates. It's an animated film adapted from Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel, and it starts with much hope for change in Iran on the eve of the revolution:



Well, we all know how that went. And "Persepolis" is sometimes courageously unflinching in its portrayal of the fundamentalist regime. The movie's not out to criticize, and it never lets a political message sink the plot, but making cartoons that might offend radical elements of Islam has been, well, difficult in the past.

The movie does a good job of following young Marjane through adolescence and into her young adult years. The art style is unique, nicely aping Satrapi's books, and the stark use of black and white for much of the runtime gives the film a grittiness and emotion that would be lacking otherwise. There are also some hilarious moments involving '80s music - look for references to Michael Jackson and "Eye of the Tiger," specifically.

Where the movie sputtered a bit for me were the lengthy bits detailing Satrapi's life outside of Iran, and the various relationships she entered. The pace lets off here, and by the time both the plot and Marjane collect themselves and regroup, the passion of the opening 45 minutes has been diluted. Even with that caveat, though, it's still a good movie, and a good example of animation that isn't aimed at kids.

Rating: 7/10

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