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Persepolis: Sad but Well Worth Seeing

Updated on September 18, 2008

Last night, I watched the animated film Persepolis which is a coming of age story of a girl growing up in Iran during the overthrow of the shah Let me start by saying that this is an animated film for mature audiences only.

For a cartoon, I found it to be very high quality. This one may very well appeal to people who don't generally enjoy animated films. This film was nominated for an academy award for best animated film. After watching it, I am surprised that it didn't win.

The story presented is not happy. It is a very personal journey from girlhood to womanhood as experienced by the main character. The imagery jumps from realism to surrealism and from black and white to color through out. For me, these transitions worked very well.

There are strong biases in the viewpoint of the narrator and many of the more negative characters are presented only two-dimensionally. In my experience, this is often the case in graphic novels and I was not bothered by it Don't go into this one expecting objectivity or fairness to different perspectives. In my view, that is not its purpose.

If you are willing to step into someone else's perceptions and be amazed and horrified, then you will be well rewarded. But don't expect an easy going story. This film has many heartbreaking moments. Still, I strongly recommend viewing it if you enjoy animated films and especially if you are interested in the experience of a young girl in revolutionary Iran.


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    • larryfreeman profile image

      larryfreeman 7 years ago from Fremont, CA

      Hi Haunty,

      I've heard the graphic novel is great. I've only seen the animated film.

      I agree with you that there have been a nice wave of high quality graphic novels written from a woman's perspective. For example:

      Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds

      If you are open to fantasy-themed graphic novels:

      Castle Waiting by Linda Medley (I enjoyed the first half more than the second half)

      Gunnerkrigg Court written by a man, Thomas Siddell, but all the main characters are teen age girls. Surprisingly good. You can buy the first two volume from Amazon or read it for free at:

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary

      The other day I was trawling Amazon for good-quality graphic novels when I found Persepolis. It's really the girl's perspective that does the magic for me. Probably not objective, but it says all I want to know about the subject.