Satrapi has lived through some interesting shit. She grew up
in Iran, and was a kid when the Shah was overthrown by the Ismic
Revolutionists, and during the Iran-Iraq war. Loved ones were
imprisoned and killed by the fundamentalist leadership. Her
family lived in constant fear of government and military interference
and reprisal. They could arrest and murder people for little
to no reason.
was there and saw all of that. Despite that, she's pretty damn
boring. That sums up her movie Persepolis, based on two
comic books of the same name. The background is pretty fucking
amazing. The foreground, eh.
movie has the feel of the comic book, a first-person diary of
a girl life as she matures, enters adulthood and figures out
who the fuck she's supposed to be. Satrapi's comic books are
comprised of stark black and white images which have a stark
minimalism to them. That works fine in print. In the movie,
though, the same approach gets tiresome. By using the same aesthetic,
Persepolis doesn't graphically illuminate the comics.
It looks too simplistic and doesn't add information to what
she's already done. Instead, it has the feel of some bad PBS
show that wants to get artsy with animation but doesn't have
the money to do it right. The only time there is color is when
Satrapi escapes to France. That's a pretty fucking trite way
to use it. See? Black and white is prison, and color is freedom.
soundtrack doesn't help, either. It's performed by a string
quartet, or quintet or whatever, that is probably competent.
However, they are used too simplistically and again not to illuminate.
Visual and spoken punchlines receive cheap little string rimshots
very much like I've seen on children's shows--usually about
baby birds or lost penguins--where the same sounds are used
to tell kids when to laugh, or at least to stop crying. Why
do I watch children's shows on PBS? Because I think everyone
should watch PBS to get more culture and be better educated.
I watch the kid's shows because I don't understand the shit
they put on for adults. Plus, I can't afford cable, so PBS is
the only place IO have a shot of seeing any nudity, even if
it's a documentary about African tribes..
the Islamic Revolution through the eyes of a young girl is an
exciting prospect. Especially when she has westernized. We know
the story is sympathetic to the Western opinion of the revolution.
That part of the story is pretty fucking great. We get to see
how a child can be confused and easily swayed by a protest march
or her parents' opinions. We see how children sought out heros
and also played at being them, while at the same time there
was war going on and the games the kids played were real and
fatal to adults.
Revolution and Iraq-Iran War are not what the movie's about,
though. Not enough, anyway. Persepolis is about Marjane
Satrapi, It follows her to Vienna and through puberty, making
new friends and discovering boys. That is way too much of the
moive and is handled tritely. Satrapi comes across as a bit
of a pain in the ass, and boring as hell. The first boy she
made love to turned out to be gay. Cue the cutesy punchline
music. The next one, whom she rambles on about being so perfect,
is caught in bed with another girl. Of course he is. Why else
would we have to endure all her poetic waxing? She also marries
and divorces in quick order. The movie is her story and impartial
at that. Satrapi wants us to know these things happened, but
isn't bothered to tell us 1) why we should care, and 2) the
other side or much information at all. Apparently, they have
the Lifetime Channel in Iran or Vienna, too.
is ultimately like a bad blog. Got up, had coffee, saw cute
boy at coffee shop. The government just killed my uncle for
dissent. Oh! I love my new shoes! What happens in the background
is pretty scary and real. What Satrapi does is mostly horseshit
with annoying music. The few good lines she has seem a lot more
like "I should have said this", than she really did say them.
Fingers for Persepolis. Man, I wish someone really
cool had lived through all that bad shit.
to tell Filthy Something?