Persepolis – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

One of the biggest crimes of the 2008 Academy Awards was that Persepolis didn’t win the Best Animated Feature. The fact that a good, but not great, film in Ratatouille could win over perhaps the best animated feature of the decade shows that perhaps talking rats are more noteworthy than a revolutionary tale of growing up in a revolution makes perfect sense. Renaissance and A Scanner Darkly weren’t nominated either, so it makes sense. Truly good animation that has a more adult theme winds up being over-looked on best film lists because they are animation and over-looked for talking animals in the animated field.

Persepolis, based on the graphic novel by the same name, follows the story of Marjane (Chiara Mastroianni) as she grows up in Iran. Following her from childhood to her life as an adult, including years spent in France as a high school student, we get to see Marjane grow up in the eyes of the tumultuous nature that is Iran.

It’s a beautiful film because it goes back to basics in terms of its animation. This is all lines and drawings as opposed to computer animation, giving it a much more unique appeal. The film has a style all its own, with animation that goes back to basics but looks better than most of what’s come out in the last several years.

It doesn’t hurt that Marjane is one of the quirkiest girls to come into cinema. In a year where Ellen Page gave life to Juno McGuff, Marjane is her Iranian counterpart and has the same sort of wit and shenanigans that Diablo Cody’s creation has (except in French).

Persepolis is one of those rare animated films that transcends being just a good animated film and is a good film, period.

Presented in a Dolby Digital surround, in a widescreen presentation, the film has a gorgeous presentation. The sound uses the format perfectly and the video is stellar. This is how an animated film is supposed to look and sound. If you have any sort of good system, you will be amazed at how good it is.

The Hidden Side of Persepolis looks at the animation of the film and how it was designed. The key thing in it, according to those involved, is to keep it animated because it allowed for a more universal story than an ethnic one. There was obviously a lot of work to make the film, as they show parts of the tremendous amount of work to animate the film as it was all done by hand and enhanced from the original graphic novel of the same name. It’s fascinating to see how much work went into the film, from the animation to the sound. It’s a fairly long feature, running 30 minutes, and features everyone involved in the film’s production.

Behind the scenes of Persepolis is a look at the production of the film, including the English dubbing, but at eight minutes doesn’t do much but add some fluff to the proceedings.

There are some Selected Scene Commentaries by Marjane Satrapi (on the opening scene) Chiara Mastroianni (eye of the tiger scene) and Vincent Paronnaud (Vienna scene), as well as Animated Scene Comparisons between the graphic novel and the comic book. The film’s Press Conference Q&A from Cannes is also included.

Previews for The Band’s Visit, When did you last see your father?, The Other Boleyn Girl , Married Life, CJ7, Brick Lane, Moliere and The Triplets of Belleville.


It may have been overlooked during its initial release, and overlooked now due to the success of Wall-E, but Persepolis is a classic of animation.

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Sony presents Persepolis. Directed by Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi. Starring Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian, Gabrielle Lopes. Written by Marjane Satrapi. Running time: 95 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: June 24, 2008. Available at Amazon.com

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