Persepolis (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner31/10/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Beautifully animated, thoroughly engaging coming-of-age drama that is by turns moving, thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny.

What's it all about?
Persepolis is based on writer and co-director Marjane Satrapi's semi-autobiographical series of graphic novels, about a young Iranian girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution. It deservedly shared the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival and it's France's official entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.

Marjane (Gabrielle Lopes) is an outspoken and rebellious young girl who has several clashes with her teachers and the country's morality police before her loving parents (Simon Abkarian and Catherine Deneuve) and feisty grandmother (Danielle Darrieux) decide that she might be safer if they sent her to be educated abroad. However, despite finding both love and friendship in Vienna, Marjane (now voiced by Chiara Mastroianni) misses her family and longs to return to the country she loves.

The Good
The film is beautifully animated throughout, closely following the same cartoonish black and white style as the source material (although present day sequences contain flashes of colour). However, the animated format allows co-directors Satrapi and Paronnaud to significantly heighten some sections of the graphic novel – for example, the bombing sequences are genuinely terrifying, thanks to some impressive sound design work.

Voiced to perfection by both Lopes and Mastroianni, Marjane is a terrific character that we really care about. In addition, Satrapi's superb script beautifully captures the pressures of growing up and her depictions of the day-to-day realities of the totalitarian regime are extremely powerful.

The Great
There's also a huge amount of humour in the film, most of which stems from Marjane's delightfully mischievous sense of humour. Highlights include Marjane's encounter with the Guardians of the Revolution (who accuse her of wearing "punk" trainers) and her attempts to buy 1980s pop music on the black market.

Worth seeing?
In short, Perseopolis is an emotionally engaging, brilliantly written and superbly animated drama that demands to be seen. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll rush out to Waterstone's to buy the graphic novel. Highly recommended.

NB: Please note that Persepolis is showing in both subtitled and dubbed versions.

Film Trailer

Persepolis (12A)
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Content updated: 16/07/2018 13:37

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