Directors: Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi
Based on two autobiographical graphic novels, Persepolis, which chronicles the life of young Marjane Satrapi as she comes of age during the Islamic Revolution has been nominated as the Best Animated Feature Film of the Year from the Academy Awards. Although it is animated with most of the characters and sets drawn with stark lines and filled in with either black or white color, it feels far more urgent and sophisticated than most animated films. It not only resonates with contemporary issues facing the relationships between countries today but also in its unique insider’s analysis of the history of Iran following the end of its modern movement under dictator Shah which led to a Islamic fundamentalist era that forced women such as our young heroine Marjane to hide their faces from men and forsake all Western influences such as Marjane’s beloved punk rock music and sneakers. Of course, the young teen’s rebellion is one thing but it’s only a small plot in the much bigger picture of the way the country is forever changed with relatives and friends being killed and liberties being taken away until Marjane is sent to Vienna to stay with friends. It’s about this time when the film which had been so engrossing and informative begins to falter slightly as, although we empathize and respect our feisty heroine, we long to learn more of what’s happening back in Iran other than following Marjane through her failed romances and encounters with prejudice on foreign soil. Still, it’s a vivid work one won’t soon forget and one that will hopefully educate America’s younger audiences (teenaged and up) who are drawn to animated films to think more about global issues and appreciating other cultures and points of view. As IMDb reports, Sean Penn, Gena Rowlands and Iggy Pop have all lent their uncredited voices to the film’s English language version which should up the appeal and ease of the film as the white subtitles were a bit hard to read with the black and white scenery as the filmmakers should have stuck with the traditional yellow color.