Recently went to see Persepolis with a friend and I cannot recommend this film enough. It is based on two graphic novels (in it’s native french it is 4 volumes but they were combined for the english translation) by Marjane Satrapi detailing her childhood in Iran during the revolution and during the war between Iran & Iraq, her high school experiences in Austria and finally her return to Iran and subsequent re-departure this time for France.
I read the first volume in 2003 when it came out and was amazed by this book. The simple black and white style added to the starkness of the dark points and the simplicity of the happy moments in her life. I sadly never read the second volume and did not even know it was being made into a film, until my friend mentioned that she wanted to go see it.
The film is all in French with American subtitles and the art is done in the same artistic style as the book. The emotional impact was not dulled at all and I really enjoyed following Marjane on her journey through the revolution, to Austria and the complications of being Iranian there during the Iran/Iraq conflict and finally her return to Iran later. There’s humor even during the dark times and the shadow of death hangs over a lot of the good times. There is nothing easy or uncomplicated in this work because it details true life and true life is very rarely easy or without complications. Though there were certain things that I vaguely recall that I wish had made it into the film (so I’m going buy both volumes of the graphic novel so I can reread the first volume and read the second volume as soon as I have money to spare) the film’s story flowed well and left me in awe in my uncomfortable theatre seat.
The voice acting was terrific, the revolutionary sentiment real and absorbing and Marjane one of the most human protagonists I’ve seen in some time (this is probably cause she is a real person). I really cannot recommend this film enough. If it’s not playing in your area then buy the graphic novels and enjoy the story in its original format until the movie comes out on DVD, then buy that too. Trust me you won’t be disappointed.