Sunday, March 16, 2008


Persepolis, the new animated film written and directed by Marjane Satrapi, chronicles her life in pre- and post-Revolution Iran, covering the overthrow of The Shah, the Iran-Iraq War, the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism, and the austerities and deprivations of living in a war zone and under a repressive regime.

Based on Satrapi's eponymous graphic novel, the film is lush and terribly poignant, and repeatedly brought my wife and I to tears. The title Persepolis refers to the Persian capital founded by Darius I in the 6th century BC and subsequently destroyed by Alexander the Great.

Seeing such a personal depiction of war, loss, grief, depression, violence and political repression was yet another reminder of how it is never too late to count our blessings. This film was also a stark reminder of how the United States government and other western powers have toyed with the East for centuries. In this case, we propped up the Shah---ostensibly a puppet of the West---armed Saddam Hussein in the 1980s when it was in our interest to do so, and fomented the Iran-Iraq War in a divide-and-conquer maneuver used by empires throughout the centuries. The film presents a perspective rarely seen by Americans, one filled with irony and a resigned acceptance of corruption and repression as natural human conditions.

I highly recommend the film, and the website is as lush and evocative as the film. You will not be disappointed.
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