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Persepolis

July 2, 2008  |  12:56pm
Persepolis

Release Date: June 24
Directors/Writers: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Starring: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux
Studio/Run Time: Sony Pictures Classics, 95 mins.

A tender, animated look at Iran’s struggles

Finding black humor in totalitarianism’s contradictions, Marjane Satrapi's animated adaptation of her smash graphic memoir, Persepolis, is as canonically effective as her book. Detailing the Iran of her childhood (through revolution, repression and expatriation), Satrapi and co-director Vincent Paronnaud transform the stark lines of her illustrations into rich black and white. Filled with exotic curlicues, crosshatched shadows and iconic characters, the vocabulary is a tender extension of Satrapi’s eye. Hand drawn, the film resonates even without its moral center. A full-on anti-authoritarian, Satrapi's character—voiced by Chiara Mastroianni—fills the screen. Though Satrapi mostly observes her country’s turbulence rather than participating in it, she does so charismatically. “When you run, your behind makes indecent moves,” an Iranian policeman tells her. “Then stop looking at my ass!” she retorts, and keeps running. Equal parts contrarian and humanist, Persepolis— regardless of how it was inked—refuses to see anything in black and white.

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