A monochrome canvas of identity, war, (& 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.

Genre: Memoir, War film, Animation, Coming-of-Age, Book-to-Film
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 responses to “A monochrome canvas of identity, war, (& punk rock)

    • 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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