Persepolis: A canvas of war, Islam, and punk rock

I’m not good with History subjects and I’m not proud of this fact. It feels like my whole experience with it is comprised of Bandit Zone; a book that must be completely read for a span of three days while being both a headache + a college requirement. But since I was little, I have always been absorbed with cartoons. And in high school, I started to appreciate mordant & screwball, then rock in college, then black when I worked. Amusingly, Persepolis managed to be all.

Persepolis
Genre: Memoir, War, Animation, Coming-of-Age, Adaptation
Director: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Year: 2007

Persepolis is the autobiography of Marjane Satrapi, an Iranian-born graphic novelist. To be honest, I am not versed on the culture of Islam and of the Middle East. In fact, Life of Pi and Borat was what I had (shamefully) considered a “peek” of it. And this is where Persepolis gets the edge; it gives a candid ounce of what it means to be caught in a philo-cultural diversity using a personal memoir.

Do you know that punk rock or anything Western was a serious crime in Iran back then? And oh, I forgot to add alcohol + staying late with boys that’s why people partied in secret.

Marjane headbang! (But I don’t mean this kind of solo-partying.)

Marjane is quite interesting as a character in the film. At one point, she becomes a social recluse and yet she maintains her sharp point of view and existential angst which wraps the dark & biting humor of the story. But the irony is how Persepolis remains sincerely optimistic; you could see how Marjane’s family constantly wants the best for her even if it means making hard decisions.

I know this is shallow, but my favorite part in the film is when when Marjane is recalling her ex-boyfriend Markus. I find this particular kind of bitterness to be extremely funny and it reminds me of Tom in 500 Days of Summer.

Yes Tom! hate Summer & that song (so you can love me instead).

In any case, Persepolis is an occasional wasabi that I will crave every now and then. Though the film did not give me ways to fast auto-help Iran or the Middle East, it strengthened my belief on the importance of family and education. But out of all its different and interesting points, I guess what I like best is:

how the desire to love, to fit in, and take a chance on happiness would always go beyond the bounds of religion and ethnicity.

(But harsh wit is still the film’s best asset.)

 

4 Comments

    1. Hi Jem, I haven’t seen Kite Runner yet but I’ve been hearing a lot of good comments about it. Let me know once you watch Persepolis na (if it won’t be a hassle). Btw, thanks for mentioning Kite Runner because I’m thinking of what to watch next! 🙂

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