Finely drawn picture of life after the Shah
Graphic-novel nerds will love this well-crafted, intelligent and funny film about life in Iran, says Noel McAdam
Not one of those Greek Gods you’ve forgotten, Persepolis was
apparently the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire, and not today
or yesterday. But the movie is utterly contemporary.
Based on the stunning graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, this is
part rite-of-passage and intensely personal story but also virtual
documentary and social history against the backdrop of the fall of the
Shah, the Ayatollah and the Iran-Iraq war — at once heady, at times
heavy and yet very humourous.
Marjane’s grandmother, for exammple, is a feminist, radical
commentator and comic rolled into one: “In this life you’ll meet a lot
of jerks,” she tells Marjane. “If they hurt you, tell yourself that
it’s their own stupidity that makes them act that way … The first
marriage is practice for the next one.”
The mostly black-and-white animation style lends the feel of fable
to this autobiographical account of an incredible personal journey
against the broad sweep of Islamic Revolution. But even regular graphic
novel readers may take some time to tune in to the almost traditional
techniques employed, with a complete lack of computer-generated imagery.