Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve and Simon Abkarian

Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material including violent images, sexual references, language and brief drug content
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: December 25, 2007 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

The deft animation and storytelling (from a comic book series) helps personalize this resonating picture.

Persepolis (in French with English subtitles) beautifully conveys the Iranian experience mostly in black-and-white bookended in lustered hues through Marjane (voiced by Chiara Mastroianni).

From her recollections in a Paris airport one learns what life was like for her in 1978 Teheran with an unstable government as the Shah went into exile.

Her life exposed her to many tenets as the Iran/Iraq war ensued in the 1980s with her parents (Catherine Deneuve, Simon Abkarian) finding it imperative to have her attend school in Vienna.

Finally, in returning home, her education and independence has made her realize that she may not belong in her native land.

Marjane Satrapi, who co-directed with Vincent Paronnaud, in a relatively short running time, unfolds to bring much information about the culture and history of Iran, arguably more effectively than in The Kite Runner. The story has so much more meaning based on her own experiences.

The fair-minded insightfulness includes political exposition about how the Shah's regime rose in power, as well as the arms build-up in Iran and Iraq that would lead to a costly war.

The life of Marjane as she matures feels deeply authentic in its chief vibrant monochromatic look, that is touching and sometimes wry in the depiction of interactions from dinners and a boyfriend, among other, sometimes illegal, gatherings.

The filmmakers maintain a mood that captures the implications of Marjane's changing beliefs and internal conflict about whether to have faith in the kind of justice the world is dealing to her. Persepolis, without being specious, is creative and uncontrived in the best sense that is provocative from its imagery and observations from a girl and woman who endured theocracy and headscarves.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Persepolis B+     B+       B+

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