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Persepolis
DVD disk
Jul 22, 2008 By: Jason Adams
Persepolis order
Director:
Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi

Actors:
Chiara Mastroianni
Catherine Deneuve
Danielle Darrieux

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The years of Iranís Islamic Revolution told through the eyes of a feisty, Western-influenced girl as she comes of age.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
PERSEPOLIS is a great reminder of the power of animation as a cinematic format (and not a genre). Itís not about entertaining kids. Itís not a showcase for the latest and greatest technology and making everything as realistic as possible. Itís about telling a great story first and foremost. The animation here is simple but effectiveópoetic and vibrant while maintaining that graphic novel lookóand the adult subject matter makes great use of the medium.

Based on Marjane Satrapiís autobiographical graphic novels, PERSEPOLIS manages to make history entertaining, specifically a chapter as disheartening as Iranís war torn Islamic Revolution. Funny at spots and powerful at others, itís an enlightening film, especially when you consider that the events within are still occurring for the most part in the country today. (The end of the film takes place a mere fifteen years ago.) And told through a childís eyes, PERSEPOLIS cleverly brings an innocence to the severity and seriousness of the culture shock, making comments about the influential characteristics of human nature, almost in the same way that South Parkís child characters are more reflective of their environment than themselves. It also provides a good look at just how western culture seeps in to other countries, from Bruce Lee to punk rock to Godzilla. And thereís just something great about seeing an animated little Iranian girl rocking out to Iron Maiden.

If thereís one imperfection to be found in PERSEPOLIS, itís that it struggles a little with pacing. The narrative comes off as a straight shot without much of an overall arc, which isnít something that necessarily detracts from enjoying the film or its message. Things can feels a bit episodic, without much flow between set pieces, but such is real life.
THE EXTRAS
The Hidden Side of PERSEPOLIS (30:15): Both directors take you through the animation process (nice to see some hand drawn stuff!), as well as some voice recording and foley sessions.

Behind The Scenes of PERSEPOLIS (8:39): Get a peek at some animatics and an interview with the English cast. Itís a bit surreal hearing Iggy Pop talk about a French movie set in Iran.

Cannes Press Conference (29:00): A full Q&A session from the French premiere. Itís informative, but a little long.

Selected Commentaries: Satrapi covers the beginning with a nice little intro (thankfully in English). Some voice actors and the other director also chime in with their thoughts.

Animated Scene Comparisons (10:54): A mix of rough storyboards, test animatics and various stages of animations.

Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Wow, a great, compelling and intelligent animated movie not by Pixar! PERSEPOLIS is an entertaining and enlightening coming-of-age story definitely worth your time.

Extra Tidbit: PERSEPOLIS was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but ironically lost out to Pixarís French-set RATATOUILLE.
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