Monday, February 04, 2008


We saw Persepolis last night at the Fox Tower -- it's fantastic, and I highly recommend it! If you haven't heard of it, it's an animated movie based on the two autobiographical graphic novels of Marjane Satrapi, who grew up in Iran during the Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. That sounds like some heavy subject matter, and it is, but it's also wondrously funny and filled with humanity. The stark black and white animation is simple but beautiful. Marjane was a spunky kid who loved Bruce Lee and sneakers and punk -- imagine then the shift to the repressive regime of the Islamic Republic.

Some time in the past year I randomly caught an interview on NPR with another Iranian female author of a memoir, and just the few minutes I heard I was struck cold with horror at her experience of being a teenage political prisoner during this same era. I didn't write the title of that book down, but I still can't shake the horror. Marjane Satrapi was lucky to escape the horrors that other woman faced, as she was never imprisoned (she was sent to Europe in her teens, where though "safe" she was alientated and very alone), and Persepolis isn't overwhelming like that, but tempers the horror of the era with a beautiful celebration of individuality and integrity in the face of opression. And it's funny! In some of the scenes I laughed like a hyena! (Take that, you cad of an Austrian boyfriend!)

[Update: Thank you, Elizabeth. Yes, Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat does indeed sound like the book! I get shivers all over again just reading about it on Amazon. Teenage political prisoners, executed!!!!!]

It's a fairly dismal time at the theaters right now (Rambo, Hannah Montana), but this one is a must-see. You might also check out the books.


Jennifer said...

Awww Laini!

What do you mean that Rambo & Hannah Montana are dismal??!! You guys are sooooo snobby! :)


It is bad out there, eh?

I will go get that book though...

See ya Saturday!


Tan said...

I also saw the movie and I thought it was a very good medium to bring something so dark to the big screen without being depressive. It show's very much humanity (even though it's animated!!!)

We laughed and we "almost" cried.
Highly recommend it.

Alexandra S said...

It really was SUCH a wonderful movie. I wasn't expecting it to be at all but WOW! And what a treat for you to have me there. You are so lucky!

Q said...

Austrian boyfriend?

Deirdre said...

There are so many movies I need to see (Rambo and Hannah Montana are not on the list). I'll look for this one.

I've left a little giftie for you over at my blog.

Caty said...

Love it! The books as well. Sense of humor out of difficult situations and shows cultural aspects.

It is about past. I don't know how it is now.

"e" said...

Are you talking about Marin Nemat? Author of "Prisoner of Tehran"? You can see her interviewed on .