Polychrome Interest

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Persepolis – A Controversial Animation

Persepolis was an animation movie I saw by coincidence.  Why coincidence? Because I never knew this animation exists and I watched it because my favorite TV Station, MetroTV, played this movie last Saturday Night. I often watched MetroTV Saturday night’s movie because they always played amazing movies…not some brainless blockbuster movies….always something thoughtful.

I think the reason why MetroTV played this movie is because it is about Iran and our football team has just had a match against them…and we lost 3 to 0 😦

Persepolis is a 2007 French animated film based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel of the same name. Marjane Satrapi was born in Iran and lived through Iran Revolution in bringing down the Shah and the rise of Islamic rules. Marjane herself comes from family which involve in Communism and socialism.

When I saw the movie, I was shocked with its animation style…the first thing that came out of my mouth was what a weird animation! But as I continuously watching it, I began to appreciate the art more and more. It wasn’t weird, it was unique!

The story started with the grown up Marjane (nickname: Marji) who was confused rather to go back to Iran or stay in Paris. The story moved to Marji’s childhood in Iran. She was still a kid when the revolution started. She even shouted ‘Fall of the Shah’ when she was at home. When the Shah finally fell from his throne, his favorite uncle was released.

When the new government was elected, Iran was ruled under Islamic Fundamentalist where the rulers forced all the people to obey radical Islamic beliefs. The women were forced to wear hijab, party and alcohol were banned and American music was something you could only find in black market. The government hated US to the core because the thought US was behind the once ruling Shah. They caught and executed Marji’s uncle because he had socialist political belief. This made Marji turned into a rebel. She started listening to heavy metal as her protest.

Because of her good French, her parents sent her to Vienna to study. She had hard time in Vienna and almost died because of silly broken heart.

She decided to get back to Iran. In Iran, the rules were still as strict as before. She went to many secret parties as her way of protest.

That was the outline of the story. I find this animated movie very interesting and thought-provoking. The art was unique and delivered the story really well. I was surprised to know that this animation was defeated by Ratatouille in Academy Award for best animated picture. Ratatouille was fun but not that good, but then again Oscar is always surprising and odd.

What I liked about this movie is the way she judged upon the government not the religion. Iran government used Islamic code to control their people but not even once Marji was blaming Islam, she was always blaming the government. She was right to blame the government because in truth, Islam is not demanding at all and to force people to do Islamic code was  wrong.

I wear hijab since I was in high school and I wear it because my heart tells me to wear it. I will never conduct adultery or drink alcohol or do club-parties because Islam prohibited those things and I am gladly obey it because I believe in Islam and I love Allah. However, when a government forced those rules upon unbelievers, it was pointless job because Allah will not accept their doings…all these Islamic rules are something that we have to do from heart not from being forced, that’s what Allah will count in judgment day.

The movie really saddened me and also made me happy. It saddened me to see such government and it made happy to see Marji still has open mind in telling her side of story.

Movie Details

Director: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
Staring (voice): Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian
Producer: Xavier Rigault, Marc-Antoine Robert, Kathleen Kennedy
Scriptwriter:  Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
Released date: 23 May 2007
Language: French

This is Marjane Satrapi

About Novroz

I actively maintained 2 blogs. My personal blog is about things that I love: Turtles, Books, Movies, Music, Larc en Ciel, Muse, Cillian Murphy, The Mighty Boosh and many more. I also help my 3 super cute turtles, Kroten, Papoe and Kurome, to maintain their own blog: http://kamekroten.wordpress.com

28 comments on “Persepolis – A Controversial Animation

  1. dirtywithclass
    September 5, 2011

    I saw this a while ago, and loved it.

    • Novroz
      September 5, 2011

      I wonder if there is someone out there that saw it but didn’t like it. It is so easy to be liked.

  2. parrish
    September 5, 2011

    I enjoyed this & also the graphic novel the movie derived from. I agree with your comments that the government used religion for its own ends, as a weapon of suppression.
    ps, I posted on the novel a short while ago if your interested.

    • Novroz
      September 5, 2011

      I saw it through googling that the graphic novel has the same art as the animation, I’d love to read what you think of the GN. Will hop by to your review later.

      Yeah, it’s always sad when the government used religion to force things up, it doesn’t matter what religion it was.

  3. Asop
    September 5, 2011

    He’eh, bener banget. Gak bisa kita memaksakan peraturan Islam untuk orang non-muslim. 😦
    Hargailah non-muslim. Selama para non-muslim tidak mengganggu muslim, jangan memulai gangguan duluan. 😐

    • Novroz
      September 5, 2011

      Yup betul bgt Sop!! Jangan kita duluan yg memulai tak menghargai orang yang beda kepercayaan…kita harus terima perbedaan diantara sekian banyak manusia. Selama agama kita ga diganggu jangan kita duluan yg memulai.

  4. Andina
    September 5, 2011

    I watched this couple years ago, and I was amazed how an animation could be a different form, to be a serious one not funny and light for kids anymore. But yes, you’re right, Islam is not forceful and demanding. I love that scene where she wears the jacket ‘punk is not dead’ but misspelled.

    • Novroz
      September 5, 2011

      Have you ever watched Ghibli or other Japanese animation? they tends to create ‘heavy’ story, not light and just for fun. That’s why I enjoy Japanese Animation far more than the ones from US…I guess now I will include European animation in my list. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy to find 😦

      Islam will feel demanding to those who don’t believe in it, but it feels natural to those who believe it. But some countries made it as if we women aren’t allowed to do anything because Islam prohibited. What a wrong perception that is!!

      Haha yeah that was funny. There are some funny scenes that made me laugh. It loosen up the tense a bit.

      • Andina
        September 6, 2011

        Yes I happen to watch some of Ghibli’s, they are very interesting. Watched spirited away in college, very cool. I haven’t found much again after college. Some european you should find it easy is ‘The illusionist’.
        I guess you are right, all about one’s faith to Islam 🙂

  5. Caroline
    September 5, 2011

    I only herad good things about this film and will certainly watch it sooner or later. I wish governments were aware that forcing people to adopt the outside signs of a religion without really believing can not do any good.
    I’m sure it is an important movie.

    • Novroz
      September 5, 2011

      You should definitely watch this Caroline…you can consider it as war movie as it took place in Iran-Iraq conflict.
      I hope so too…for that issue, I am glad I life in Indonesia, a republic that doesn’t suppress people into certain religion.

      • Caroline
        September 5, 2011

        i thought it was some sort of war movie. Have you seen Waltz with Bashir? they are often recommended together. I got it here and need to watch it soon.

        • Novroz
          September 6, 2011

          I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll keep that in mind, maybe I come across the DVD one day…or MetroTV decide to share that movie one day. Thanks

    September 5, 2011

    yep, the film had lots of success at movie festivals and award ceremonies a few years ago.

    And an off-topic question, Novia: would you wear hijab even if you lived in some western country? Or would you adopt and respect the tradition and rules of that western country? Many European countries are banning wearing hijab in their schools and institutions, so that’s why I’m asking this question.

    • Novroz
      September 5, 2011

      Have you seen it Dezzy? What do you think?

      Good question Dezz 🙂
      I would still wear hijab because I first wear it out of choice not force. I was born Muslim, meaning my parents are Muslim and therefore the children will also be Muslim just like all religions, but even so I became true Muslim when I was in high school. I believe the value of Islam during high school. At that time, I have strong urge in my heart that I must start wearing hijab. My mom was worried because she didn’t want me to wear it and then take it off again as I pleased, but I assured her that such act will never happen.

      I once turned down a job because they wanted me to teach without wearing my hijab and I turned it down without second thought.

      I truly regret the countries that ban hijab 😦 why don’t they just see it as a style we choose to wear. They allow women wearing skimpy dress why not let us close our body but our face?

  7. rtm
    September 5, 2011

    Oh I’ve been meaning to see this one so thanks for the reminder, Nov. I think the animation looked unique when I first saw it, but what intrigued me was the story, oh boy she must not be able to go back to Iran after telling a story like this, but I commend her bravery.

    I agree w/ you that it’s the radical/extremist government that’s the issue, not the religion itself. I’m glad you said that it’s never good to have any fundamental belief be forced upon anyone. It’s one thing to ‘evangelize’ but to actually make it law to wear certain things and practice certain tradition in the name of religion and to punish people who ‘disobey’ that rule is just plain wrong. I do hope Indonesia shall NEVER be an Islamic country under Sharīʿah law. I know a lot of Muslim friends growing up who didn’t wear hijab, it’d be tragic if they were to be punished for that.

    • Novroz
      September 6, 2011

      I read in Wikipedia, Iran still allow the movie to be shown with some editing that refers to sex. So, I guess Iran is not that angry at her.

      I hope so too, I want Indonesia to stay republic. As much as I love my religion I don’t think I can take living in the country that force the law on its citizen…Especially if the law is ‘made up’ like no music from the west and stuff.

  8. Nekoneko
    September 6, 2011

    I liked this one too!! Marjane is a very interesting person who has seen much in her years and her story about the way Islam was so badly used to control the people of Iran reminds us that not all of her people were like this, then or now.

    I’m sorry to say that much of the laws banning the hijab come from fear… Fear can be a powerful thing that makes many people accept bad ideas without thinking about alternatives. Too many times has that led to terrible things and terrible misunderstandings. In the US, the rule is that you can not go about the street “in disguise”…. but this is to mean things that would let a criminal hide his face so he can commit his crimes, like wearing ski masks to rob banks. This may be what they mean in Europe too…. but I cannot speak for them…..

    You dress modestly, but you do not hide your pretty face Novia…. so do not worry… all people would know you are friendly and kind. 🙂

    • Novroz
      September 6, 2011

      You’re right Miyuki, never judge people based on the whole country behaviour, one individual is always different. It’s like the book I am currently reading, the writer said she hated all Dutch people but her friend reminded her that what we should hate it the colonial system not the whole Dutch because there were still many Dutchmen who opposed the colonialism.

      I understand that point, I guess it is difficult to accept when someone is covering their faces tho not all hijab cover the face. Some wear hijab like mine, only covering the whole body and head…I don’t want to cover my face because the Prophet never said we have to cover our face.

      Thank you so much for the kind words Miyuki 🙂

  9. Fariz
    September 6, 2011

    I also liked the movie, miss. A very unique animation indeed. But for me, Ratatouille was better hehe

    • Novroz
      September 7, 2011

      Aha…it seems we have different value in deciding good movies 😉

  10. Joel Burman
    September 7, 2011

    Nice write up Novia. I might pick it up if I stumble/come across it.

    • Novroz
      September 7, 2011

      Thank you Joel, I think you should watch it…I’d love to know your opinion as you often have xciting opinion on movie.

  11. mee
    September 9, 2011

    I love love love Persepolis. I watched the film years ago in the cinema and then went to read the graphic novel (which the movie is based on). Both are excellent, though the book has more in it. I’d highly recommend the book if you can get it somehow :). Persepolis changed my perception of non-Japanese comics, which I didn’t think highly of before, and I went to search (and find) a lot more great comics/graphic novels!

    • Novroz
      September 10, 2011

      The book always has something more than the movie (that goes to any book and movie).
      I started reading Graphic novel from European GN such as Lucky Luke and Tintin,I discovered US superhero comics (which I don’t like) and manga (which I love so much) afterward. I wish it was that easy to find GN apart from manga and DC comics, I’d love to read them too…but it isn’t that easy 😦

  12. lifewith4cats
    September 11, 2011

    This sounds like an interesting movie. I agree that our worship or love can only be accepted when it is offered freely. Forcing people to do or believe a certain way is never a good idea.

    • Novroz
      September 12, 2011

      It is interesting…glad many people who have seen it agree with me.
      I feel sorry to those people who were forced to do something against their will.

  13. Pingback: Movie Review: Persepolis | Projected Realities

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