Directed by Vincent Parrounaud and Marjane Satrapi.
Written by Vincent Parrounaud and Marjane Satrapi. Based on the
graphic novel "The Complete Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi.
Starring the voices of Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve and
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 2/14/08
Okay, so here's a twist--for once, I read
the book BEFORE I saw the movie...and, like all good books that are
turned into films, I was disappointed that the film left so much out
of the book's great text. But, here's the real twist: the
film's writer & director was...the SAME PERSON WHO WROTE THE BOOK!
"Persepolis" follows the life of Tehran-born
little girl Marjane "Marji" Satrapi (voiced here by Chiara
Mastroianni), as she goes from troubled-and-confused veil-wearing
activist-to-be to Vienna-based teenage exchange student to
Tehran-based 20-something with a cause. In between, she gets
sage advice from her activist parents, her grandmother, a number of
friends and family friends/relatives who oppose the rule of the
Iranian government and have paid the price to prove it.
Between her travels, she finds time for her first touch of romance,
making new friends and gaining a strong appreciation for the
European lifestyle and freedoms not afforded to her in her homeland,
and finally the chance to create social circles that benefit both
her personal life and her activist life-to-be.
And, as quickly as I just summarized the
movie, that's just as much detail as director Satrapi (with the help
of Vincent Parrounaud) gives to us, as a pared-down version of her
350-page comic book text. And, it glazes over a stunning
number of good details, things that I am shocked the author decided
she should leave out of her film.
That's a shame, because "Persepolis" the
book is fantastic. Its artistic style feels unique (it's
completely in black and white and I loved the way it conveys the
emotions of the characters involved) and the perspective--little
Iranian girl watching the world around her from a political and
social view--is something I have not seen prior to this. I
read the book over the course of a round-trip flight two weeks ago,
and it's a great, interesting read that can be done quickly but not
too quickly. And, you come away smarter for it.
The same can't be said for the movie; yes,
it's over quickly (a quick 90 minutes), but you can just tell that
it is covering Satrapi's life way too fast. Her time in
middle-school and high school runs by in short order; her first
boyfriend is summarized in about 45 seconds in the movie, but in the
book this took up parts of multiple chapters. I thought it
stunning to see that the mom-and-daughter reunion that takes place
during Marji's time in Vienna was completely lopped off; I thought
this was a major turning point in the book.
I was very disappointed in the film version
of "Persepolis", but much of that is tied to my surprise that the
author was directly involved in this and she must have decided to
leave major portions of her book out. Maybe if I had not read
the book, I would have liked this a lot more...
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard