Powerfully moving animation.
, 25 Apr 2008
Persepolis is an animated tale about the life of an Iranian girl, Marjane, throughout the past few decades. The film begins with her sat at a French airport, preparing to return to her home, and she begins to review her life to that point. As the film flashes back to her childhood to begin the tale, the animation switches from colour to black and white, and simplifies to represent the very simple view by which a child sees the world. As the film follows her life story, the animation style becomes more complex, reflecting how our own perceptions are more complex as we age. The tale itself shows how the country of Iran went from be a free-thinking society, to the oppressive state it has become in the past decade, all through the internal political conflicts, and outside oppression and aggression. All of this is told from a personal point of view, focussing on how it affected Marjane'e life. When the film began, I didn't know what to make of it. The simple animation was nice, but seemed too simple in this age of photo-realism in animated movies. However it didn't take long for the story to connect, and the animated style all seemed to make sense. A greater degree of relaism would have pulled away, bizarrely, from the focus of the story. by keeping the images simple it allows you to absorb the well crafted life account without being distracted by glossy images. Sequences which are portrayed in silouette are the most effective images on screen, and convey the horror and forboding of the account. The film really feels like you are reading a personal journal of events through the ages, and without being too politically heavy it conveys well all the struggle a young girl had growing up as an Iranian. The film craftily layers some great moments of amusement, breaking the heavier moments, which give some scenes a kind of 'Peanuts for adults' style - usually by following a serious lesson with a quick witty scene in which the lesson learned is taken to the extreme. This clever style keeps the film from dwelling too much on the heavier aspects, and really makes Marjane seem more human. By the closure of the film you deeply care for her and her life. Powerfully moving animation.
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