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Film Review: Persepolis

By Donnambr @_mrs_b

About Persepolis (2007) PersepolisPersepolis is the poignant story of a young girl coming-of-age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is through the eyes of precocious and outspoken nine-year-old Marjane that we see a people’s hopes dashed as fundamentalists take power — forcing the veil on women and imprisoning thousands. Clever and fearless, she outsmarts the “social guardians” and discovers punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden. Yet when her uncle is senselessly executed and as bombs fall around Tehran in the Iran/Iraq war the daily fear that permeates life in Iran is palpable. As she gets older, Marjane’s boldness causes her parents to worry over her continued safety. And so, at age fourteen, they make the difficult decision to send her to school in Austria. Vulnerable and alone in a strange land, she endures the typical ordeals of a teenager. In addition, Marjane has to combat being equated with the religious fundamentalism and extremism she fled her country to escape. Over time, she gains acceptance, and even experiences love, but after high school she finds herself alone and horribly homesick. Though it means putting on the veil and living in a tyrannical society, Marjane decides to return to Iran to be close to her family. After a difficult period of adjustment, she enters art school and marries, all the while continuing to speak out against the hypocrisy she witnesses. At age 24, she realizes that while she is deeply Iranian, she cannot live in Iran. She then makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her homeland for France, optimistic about her future, shaped indelibly by her past.

 

Starring: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian

Directed by: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud

Runtime: 96 minutes

Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Review: Persepolis 

I didn’t know much about Persepolis before I sat down to watch it. It surprised me in many ways, the first being that this is definitely a film aimed at an older audience, from teens upwards in fact. The film follows the story of Marjane Satrapi at various stages of her life. Marji is from Iran and lives through political unrest as a new oppressive government claims power over the country in the late seventies before Iran descends into a brutal war with Iraq in the eighties. Persepolis focuses on Marji, her family and the people of Iran who are caught in the crossfire of a nation torn apart.

Marji’s is often a difficult journey to watch. Iranian society, of course, is very different to the many luxuries those of us in western society enjoy. As a child, Marji idolises an uncle who is a political rebel with affiliations to Communism and has spent many years in prison. When a new government claims power in Iran, Marji is horrified when her uncle is killed for his beliefs. Both Marji’s uncle and grandmother instil in her the belief and importance of always being herself and never forgetting where she comes from.

 

In the early eighties Marji’s parents send her to Vienna where she comes to experience a different world, drinking and smoking with fellow students, and beginning relationships with boys. Marji does, however, feel maladjusted and ashamed to say she is Iranian. Even in the west her life is not an easy one and culminates in her spending time on the streets at one stage. She doesn’t forget her family back in Iran though and is destined to return one day to the war torn country and find a way to continue to live her life the way she wants to.

 

Persepolis is a gritty film at times but a very rewarding one. While the violence is thankfully not gratuitous, there is a lot of darkness about the film, even when Marji believes a new life in Vienna will promise better things. While her family struggle to survive the war in Iran, Marji fights her own daily battles in Vienna. There are no miracle cures for Marji, life isn’t a bed of roses by the end, but she has grown a lot on her journey and we have been privileged to share in her often difficult story.

Verdict: 5/5

(Film source: reviewer’s own copy)

Film Review: Persepolis | Thank you for reading Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave

 


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