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Persepolis CoverA smart and funny animated flick, feature-length animated film Persepolis promises moviegoers a unique experience.  The film serves as a period piece, while managing to serve up some heady universal messages on mankind and life….

(All pictures courtesy of Sony Classics)

      Persepolis is not your typical movie, in that it takes such seemingly grim topics as war, oppressive governments, and leaving home at a young age, and deals with them in a light and unconventional context. The resulting movie is not depressing, heavy, or gritty. Actually somehow Persepolis is delightful and charming. Maybe that’s because it’s animated. The bold mostly black and white drawings (done by hand), and the storyline which floats off like the 14 year old main character Marjane’s imagination; lend a distinctly light-hearted quality to the film.

Persepolis      We see Marjane grow-up in Tehran a very happy young child surrounded by her loving parents, intrigued by her politically active uncle, and in admiration of her strong grandmother. But, when the government changes hands life becomes harder on this family of intellectual free-thinkers. Women now wear headdresses, there is a ban on music and make-up, and violence fills the streets. And yet somehow, despite the specific geopolitical subject matter tackled, this story is suprisingly accessible. We understand, we do not feel removed, in fact quite the opposite – we relate.

      Growing up Marjane idiolized Bruce Lee and karate-kicked all through the house, as a teen she jammed to Iron Maiden in her bedroom, though she had to buy these tapes off men in trench coats on the street. Later we see Marjane leave home, try to find her place in the world, fall in love and endure a broken heart.  In short the film follows her as she experiences all of those little, seemingly insignificant, things in life which culminate to make us who we are.

      Marjane Satrapi worked with fellow illustrator Vincent Paronnaud to translate her autobiographical story from graphic novels to the big screen, with great success. Persepolis, which draws its name from the ancient capital of Persia, tells a story of the human experience and does so with total grace, poignant humor and a dose reality in a surprisingly appropriate medium — animation.