Torch Online reviews: Persepolis

With all the political debate and countless newspaper articles about the threat of Iran, it was truly fascinating for a less-than-educated student to get a taste of the country’s recent social and political history. Although it was powerfully written and informative, “Persepolis” wasn’t boring or preachy; it was, in fact, a heartfelt, intellectual, humorous, and sincere look at the human condition during times of great confusion and catastrophe. And, lest we forget: this film was a cartoon based on a comic book.

In any case, with movies like “Shrek,” “Ice Age,” and “Chicken Little,” the world of animation has become a 3-D child’s market. “Persepolis,” however, uses a very basic flat two-dimension style and is aimed towards adults. This does not in any way take away from its visual appeal; on the contrary, there was something very beautiful and unique about its simple style and coloration.

The story takes us on a lot of confusing yet compelling journeys as we follow our hero, Marjane Statrapi. She is a young Iranian girl who looks for freedom and the answers to all of life’s little questions in her homeland of Iran, but also how she looks for acceptance in Europe and ultimately finds pride in her heritage. The dynamic of the Statrapi family – Marjane, her parents, two progressive and political Uncles, and her Grandmother, who was the personification of integrity and open-mindedness – was deeply inspiring and overwhelming as we see them make the decision to send Marjane away to Vienna, and see some of her family jailed as they lead the march against oppression.

When dealing with the historical transition of the evil Shah to the current intense fundamental state of Islam, the story could have easily been disheartening. However, “Persepolis” keeps our interest and takes huge advantage of animation by being creative and imaginative (in one scene Marjane is in the hands of Allah, while talking to Karl Marx). Although this movie has a selective release, and is only playing in a few art-house theaters, this movie should be seen by everyone. It’s important to see how good people struggle in controversial corners of the world that we don’t truly understand.

With so many great films surprisingly flooding the market the past few months, “Persepolis” was lost, but it is one the best movies of the year, so don’t miss it.