Saturday, 9 May 2015

Food Module: Persepolis

Persepolis is a 2-D animated feature that follows the main protagonist, Marjane as she grows up within the Iranian Revolution and how her family life changes with the take over of the Islamic Fundamentalists. The animation is adapted from Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel. I found this animated documentary to be very inspiring, emotional and eye opening with the struggle that Marjane went through as she lived through these changes.  As Marjane grows up, her parents send her abroad to study so that she could have a chance at a better life. This is difficult for her as she struggles to fit in with the differences of cultures and religion. She discovers freedom as she is not tied down by her country or religion, and once she returns to her family after studying, she struggles with whether her country is right for her. 

Marjane is an interesting and funny main character, when she was younger she loved Bruce Lee, learning martial arts and was extremely curious with her family. Unfortunately her uncle, Anoush was executed for his beliefs as the Islamic Fundamentalists win the election, forcing the rest of the country to follow with strict regulations. The scene leading up to her uncles death was very emotional through how she visited him in his cell moments before his death. As she grows up with the strict rules of the new politics in place, she tries to find her own identity, with buying cassettes of Iron Maiden from shady dealers, through how anything western was against the law. After standing up to her teacher against the events that took place with her uncle, her parents send her abroad to Vienna in fear that she would be imprisoned and executed. 

The animation is beautiful, the use of the simple structure to the figures with the black and white appeal merge successfully with the theme of the biography as Marjane tells the story of her life. The audience see Marjane and the rest of the environment in colour when the story cuts to an older version of herself who has been narrating the flashback. I quite like this mix as it defines the timeline of her life well to the audience. Interestingly the author of the graphic novel, Marjane Satrapi, felt that the use of the graphic style like the novel, made the animation universal. The added humour in the narrative works well with Marjane personality as she gets used to the growing up within a new culture that has so many new experiences that she eventually gets used to, finding herself along the way.

Overall this feature reveals the truth of Marjane life, through how hard it was to tell people from where she came from with the stigma of her culture and living through a war and revolution. I found that this documentary animation is quite powerful through the use of the emotion in the narration and through how the audience become attached to Marjane as we follow her as she grows up. The ending of the animation shows the audience how the war in her country ended, the cruel facts of people being executed for their beliefs and the audience see Marjane overcome her depression and find some to spend the rest of her life with. However her marriage falls apart, and a friend is killed trying to escape authorities for their standing in politics, from these results her family tell Marjane to leave the country again, cutting back to modern day Marjane . The animation ends with Marjane still unable to come back to her country.

Source (s):
Cavalier, S. (2011) The World History of Animation. Great Britain: Aurum Press Ltd.
Persepolis. (2007) Film. Directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi [DVD]

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