Thursday, October 23, 2008

Persepolis (2007)

One of the reasons that I wanted to watch Persepolis is that I know so little about the Islamic Revolution. Maybe an animated biopic is not the best source for such information, but it's difficult to find any films at all that deal with the subject (that Sally Field doesn't star in). I suppose the history of Western meddling in the affairs of Iran, which in the end helped to produce such an undesirable result, is one possible reason for this. Persepolis has only a brief mention of the British helping Reza Khan seize power in 1925, and then later a vague reference to the Shah having "friends in Washington". I couldn't help but feel that the filmmaker had missed out on an opportunity to educate her audience. But in fairness, that's not really what the movie is about. Most of it focuses on the time she spent in self-imposed exile in Europe, and how she handled xenophobes, friends who took their care-free lives for granted and, of course, the opposite sex. These are certainly important issues, but I found the scenes depicting the chaos of the revolution and the horror of urban warfare to be much more engaging. And I wonder if some of the praise that the film has received has more to do with its uniqueness than with its actual content.

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