Thursday, 18 May 2017

World Cinema: Persepolis (2007) Film Review

Fig 1. Film Poster
Persepolis is a 2007 French-Iranian animated film by Marjane Satrapi’s, based off of Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel of the same name. It tells the story of Marjane Satrapi and her coming of age during the Iranian Revolution, how the revolution changed how she lived, and her life from leaving home to another country.

The themes in Persepolis focuses on how war can drastically affect the lives at the centre of the conflict as well as what it leaves behind, such as how Marji sees first hand the death and destruction that is made during the war, and how her outspokenness and interests in punk and metal music could in fact land her into deep trouble with the authorities, she is sent away to Austria so she can be herself. This presents a political idea that war has led to a strict regime of rules that affect how people can be themselves. The story follows on to show Marji travelling from place to place, falling into depression, and divorce, and how she is developing of coping without her family for guidance, who she soon returns home to. After the death of a friend due to the authorites chasing them, she is sent away once again, and is forced to promise not to return. She does so and narrates that this would be the last time she would see her grandmother, whom she was very close to.

Fig 2. Marji's Western interests
The animation style of this film derives from the style from the graphic novel, which is quite clean and thick black lines, which itself could be seen as being inspired from French art such as Art Nouveau, with the great contrast of black and white with thick clean lines. This still fits the serious themes of war and death, as well as depression and oppression, effectively as the great amount of black  shown for when Marji is wearing her cowl, reveals only her face, that her true self is not being presented and how she is not allowed to do so, contrasting to the brightness of white and little black used when she moves to France is wearing more revealing clothing. As well as smooth black lines used, there is also use of shadow theatre used during several scenes throughout the film, such as when she is sent out of the nun's home and house surfs from place to place over the winter holidays, this effectively shows how she is passed from house to house, no where stable to live and how the character of Marji is developing more and more into being more independent compared to how she first arrived in Austria.

Overall the animation style is very enjoyable to watch, with the comedy elements as well as the very appealing art style, which allows for a great amount of storytelling which explores the very serious topics of depression, war, oppression, and how war affects an entirety of people and how the main character has to develop in these circumstances.

Illustration List:
Fig 1.
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