Film Review: Persepolis

We are only two weeks into the new year, and I am ready to call the best film of 2008. Persepolis is one of those coming-of-age films that you don't usually see come out of Hollywood because it is actually good. The film is based on Marjane Satrapi's four best selling graphic novels of the same name, which chronicles her everyday life during and after the Iranian Revolution. We see Marjane living under the repressive regime of the Shah and later Islamic fundamentalism. The film also deals nicely with Satrapi coming to grips with her identity as an Iranian and a female in Iran and in the West. The animation is simply amazing; not even a Pixar film can stand up next to this. What I liked most about the film was that it said true to the original books. The film easily get the Oscar for Best Animated Film this year, but not everyone is happy about the film.

The film has drawn complaints from the Iranian government. Even before its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, the government-connected organisation Iran Farabi Foundation sent a letter to the French embassy in Tehran stating "This year the Cannes Film Festival, in an unconventional and unsuitable act, has chosen a movie about Iran that has presented an unrealistic face of the achievements and results of the glorious Islamic Revolution in some of its parts."

In June the film was dropped from the lineup of the Bangkok International Film Festival following pressure from the Iranian government. Festival director Chattan Kunjara na Ayudhya stated "I was invited by the Iranian embassy to discuss the matter and we both came to mutual agreement that it would be beneficial to both countries if the film was not shown" and "It is a good movie in artistic terms, but we have to consider other issues that might arise here."

Don't be like the pussies in Bangkok; go see the film and support artistic freedom!


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