Thursday, January 17, 2008

Persepolis: An adult cartoon worth seeing

Persepolis narrates the story of a young Iranian girl. By telling her story it also narrates the recent history of the Iranian country. Iran from a liberal country has ended up as one of the more strict non-liberal muslin countries. And who is to blamed about this development? The west! Bravo!
Don’t get fooled by the fact that Persepolis is a cartoon. The film has nothing childish into it. The script rapidly explains the recent history of Iran so that the spectator can understand the weird twists and turns the life of a little girl takes. She begun her life in a liberal, influenced culturally by the west environment. She gets into her teens and the regime has grown strict, religious and totalitarian. The freedom of speech is withheld, her favorite uncle gets executed and she buys the new Airon Maiden album at the black market. As she can’t stop being rebellious, her parents sent her to Europe. She is an underage political refuge and she has to face all the misconceptions that the “superior” Europeans have for her country. Even more she is a teenager that tries to find her place in the world.
The nice thing about the script of Persepolis is that it proves that even in the most difficult situations human don’t stop being human. Wars and dictatorships do not make the typical problems of a teenage woman more menial. Beside the fact that she had relatives killed by the regime and she is a refugee, she still has to accept herself, fell in love, have her heart broken and face many more mishaps in the process of growing old. when she returns to Iran the government is more totalitarian than ever which forces her into a wrong marriage and then into a divorce. As a result she has to leave her country once more.
The bad thing about the script is that it is trying to convey too much in a too little time. As a result the spectator is not completely immersed into the film. He\she doesn’t identify with the girl that even if she has to face all the problems that most people face while becoming adults.
Two phrases have stuck into my mind from this film. The heroine says that even if two wars and a dictatorship in her country didn’t manage to kill her a simple banal thing like love almost did. This phrase manages summarize all the meaning of the film. In one of the last scenes of the film her parents tell her to leave Iran for a second time. Her mother tells her that she forbids her to ever come back. Iran is not for her. When she says that, she knows that she will never see her daughter again. She still has the courage to offer her daughter the most precious gift, freedom. Leaving your country and being a refugee, means leaving back the people you love. In Persepolis the protagonist has done exactly that.
Persepolis script is strong and intense because it has much to say. On the other hand if someone expects to find the exquisite perfection in the technique of design that characterizes the films of Disney or Dreamworks or Pixar will be severely disappointed. The design of Persepolis is coarse. In its simplicity however, manages to become enchanting. The plastic perfection and the illustrious pictures of the American cartoon would probably not fit this darker and much more adult cartoon and people should realize that before criticizing the lack of quality in design. All and all judging back on the films that I have seen since the beginning of the film season I would say that Persepolis is probably one of the most interesting films. Even if it has its weaknesses it remains an amenable effort and a worth seeing film.

No comments: