Persepolis [English language review]

Movie Review #665


2.4.7 Films present…

…in association with Celluloid Dreams, Sony Pictures Classics, Sofica Soficinéma, and Sofica Europacorp…

Co-production: France 3 Cinéma – The Kennedy/Marshall Company – French Connection Animations – Diaphana Distribution
Participation: Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC) – La Région Île-de-France – Fondation Groupama GAN pour le Cinéma – La Procirep – L’Angoa
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Country: France – USA
Spoken Languages: French – English – Persian – German

Directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi.  Produced by Xavier Rigault and Marc-Antoine Robert.  Comic by Marjane Satrapi.  Scenario by Vincent Paronnaud.

Rated PG-13 by the MPAA – mature themes, violence, mild sexual content, profanity, drug material.  Runs 1 hour, 36 minutes.  Premiered at Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2007.  Limited release in the USA on December 25, 2007.  Wide release in France on June 27, 2007.

Featuring the voices of Chiara Mastroianni, Danielle Darrieux, and Gabrielle Lopes Benites.

Cinemaniac Reviews one and a half stars

I don’t have a problem with a depressing animated movie.  In fact, I honor any such movie for not believing that animated movies are automatically “for kids.”  But I have a real hard time bestowing any honor unto “Persepolis”.  The movie deals with the horrors of living in the Middle East through the eyes of a young French girl.  Yes, it’s depressing, but at the same time, it’s made into a near-comedy by the kind of humor you’d find on the Cartoon Network.  Expect obnoxious voice acting and much more.

I won’t deny that “Persepolis” is stylish.  Its black and white stop animation—complemented with occasional color—is beautiful.  The simplicity of it, I’m sure, is exactly what we’d find in its comic book source.  Of course, I’ll never know, if I have my way.  The movie hasn’t piqued my interest in the comic book (let alone its own story) in the least bit.  The worst part about this is that while Marjane Satrapi is inexcusably an uninteresting protagonist in this true story, the actual Marjane Satrapi co-wrote and co-directed the movie.  Is she mocking her past or embracing it lightheartedly?  The movie blurs that line.

Especially near the end, when we’re exposed to one of the very worst covers of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”.

The flaws pile up, and that mountain all comes down to the movie’s insipid, lackluster overlooking of the obvious: that war and corruption just aren’t things you make a kiddish movie about.  There’s not a head that gives a somber nod in this depiction of the years between 1978 and 1992.  They’re all shallow nods.

Postscript: Seemingly, it’s pretty hard to get the much hated product placement into animated movies, but they’ve nailed it here.  Nike shoes and Michael Jackson’s Thriller make their way into the movie during the same breath.

Tomorrow’s Review

Exorcist: The Beginning


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