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Coming of Age in Iran: Persepolis



Directed By: Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud

Grade: B+

Persepolis was my Blind Spot pick for May. (Five months in and sticking with it!) I actually do remember reading Persepolis in college. The story is about Satrapi’s youth during and after the Islamic Revolution.

The film is very moving of course. It’s most powerful points however might be in the very beginning as things change so quickly that young Marjane can’t even keep up with it really and what feels like salvation turns into a nightmare in which she loses a beloved family member.

The other highly emotional part is when she’s sent away to Europe full of people who, as she puts it later, don’t care if a stranger dies in the streets.

As she gets older we see some forms of rebellion within Iran- music being sold in the streets, parties and such though we also see the downside. Those parties being raided. Marjane happily making a truly questionable call to save herself. Her grandmother throughout is a voice of reason never letting her forget what’s at stake.

I wasn’t big on Marjane’s parents (though I did understand them) but I really loved Grandma. Even if she was a wisdom comes with age kind of character.

The voice work by Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve and Danielle Darrieux was fine and the film was lovely in places. Though the black and white format worked well with the novel if I remember. I just don’t feel like it had the emotional impact or that I could really connect with it overall and I say that as someone whose always been fascinated with Iran.

I can’t quiet put my finger on why I didn’t connect either. If you’re interested in a coming of age story during the Islamic Revolution (and after) this is a good place to start. Maybe it was that I’m a little too familiar with the story?

Recommend: Yes. Despite my not connecting with the movie- the story is a good one worth seeing or reading in my opinion.

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