Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The animation may be black-and-white, but the world is not

Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis is the autobiographical story of an Iranian woman's coming of age during the Islamic Revolution, and her subsequent emigration to Europe.

Cleverly transfered from comic to film by co-directors Satrapi and Vincent Parannaud, the movieas with the bookgarners its primary strength from its simple, beautiful cartoon style and the uniqueness of its author's voice. Thoughtful but cynical, hopeful yet uncertain, Marjane's account effectively conveys a complex, painful history through the lens of a young girl finding herself.

The picture's handdrawn animation, kept wisely in the comic's black-and-white, is a breath of fresh air in a field of CG-ridden, animated "family" films. Its story translation fares a little less well, only because the episodic format of the comic doesn't translate altogether smoothly, sometimes resulting in a lack of focus. Also like the book, the story's second half is weaker than its first.

Still, the intent and voice of Persepolis remain strongly intact. Satrapi has said that her goal with the film is to convey to audiences around the world that, even in the land of their "enemy," "People there are just like them, and have friends and familes and hopes and dreams." Rather than a civics lesson, the picture serves as a testament to our universal humanityno small feat for what some might initially perceive as "just a cartoon."

Grade: B+

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