©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:

Filthy says:
"There is blood."

Marjane 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.

Satrapi 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.

The 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. Ooooooo.

The 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..

Seeing 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.

The 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.

Persepolis 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.

Two Fingers for Persepolis. Man, I wish someone really cool had lived through all that bad shit.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Mark S. Allen of CW TV

Fool's Gold is "Everything a romantic comedy should be!"

Filthy's Reading
Dashiell Hammett- The Maltese Falcon

Listening to
Lifter Puller - Fiesta + Fiascos


Bourne Supremacy