:. Director: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
:. Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux
:. Running Time: 1:35
:. Year: 2007
:. Country: France
A film about exile, Persepolis surprises with its formal control and the depth of its subject matter. A personal history everyone can relate to, told with a knowing mix of humor and nostalgia. Adapted from Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel by the author herself along with Vincent Paronnaud (known under the pseudonym of Winshluss in the world of underground comics), the film recalls about fifteen years of Marjane's life, the dreams of an 8 year old child living in Teheran in a progressive family educated in France, then moving on to the revolution and the fall of the Shah, the installation of the Islamic Republic, the war against Iraq and her exile in Austria.
Shot in black and white, except for the opening sequence, the film is built on a long flash-back. The montage, the pace of the different episodes, the alternating tones, the character's movements, as well as the sense of links testifies to a true artistic maturity which confers a certain sincerity on the whole project. We see more than 600 different characters, drawn by Satrapi and animated by a team in step with her style, serving a realistic story loaded with dreams and particularly influenced by German Expressionism.
With a voice over provided by Chiara Mastroianni (who joins the cast with her mother, Catherine Deneuve), the author delivers her sufferings, doubts and joys with derision and modesty; as in the sequence where Marjane starts an unlikely choreography by massacring Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger".
A true work of cinema made the old way without synthetic image, which therefore avoids the adaptation trap of using the comic strip as a simple storyboard, Persepolis is impressive in many respects. A film for adults but accessible to a younger generation, this "UFO" in the formatted world of large American studios tends towards a certain universality. Because of the historical and autobiographical context you become attached to the narrator and her journey, but it also raises questions which surpass the purely anecdotal. How to find a place in a world full of constant change? A stranger in her own country because her rebellious positions become problematic, foreign in a Western country where she will never understand all of its mysteries, the young Marjane wonders about her own identity and, therefore, returns the spectator to her own vision of the world. With sharpened simplicity, the girl is witness to the upheavals of her own life and the society in which she grows up; how the intimate becomes universal. Grand cinema.
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