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Admittedly, I have wanted to see this movie for nearly two years and it is one of the movies from my personal Netflix queue that was getting lost within the other 500+ films that I had added. The premise of the movie is both simple and yet very complex. The movie (done completely in a beautiful mis of stop motion and fluid animation) about the life of a young Iranian girl, Marjane ‘Marji’ Satrapi, is told in third person by as she remembers her past.
Starting during the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Marji’s life is told through the many developments of the Islamic fundamentalists and how their growing segregation and limitations of culture and females effects her family. At a tender age,Marji witnesses revolution, war, death and the execution of her uncle. Soon the escalating violence causes her family to send her abroad to study. Living in Vienna in the early 1980′s, Marji learns about western traditions, love and the European punk movement. While she should be happy to be free, the cruel and ignorant hatred of Eastern people along with her own guilt of being free while her family lives through oppression finally catches up to her and she moves back to Iran. Seeing that her country is no more free now then they were before the revolution, Marji realizes that she doesn’t fit in anywhere and still wants to stand up for her beliefs and defend the deaths of her family, friends and neighbors.
The movie is not only entertaining as a narrative, but a really great portrayal of Iranian people, the story of how their country came to be what most people know it to be today and the troubles all Iranians have had to deal with. As an admittedly not as well informed as one would hope westerner, the movie was a great insight into the history of the war-torn country. With stories of revolution and unrest still in the news and the recent election riots, this movie is a great starting point for more learning and conversation of just what is the modern state of Iran and what do the people really want.
My one concern with the movie is actually that due to the animation style (have I mentioned yet just how beautiful the movie is…) the subtitles tend to get lost and sometimes hard to read. This may be because I wanted so much to watch the movie for it’s graphics as much as understand the plot. Additionally, as the movie is in French (a traditionally fast spoken language), the subtitles are quick and I caught myself missing a few lines her and there. The movie is simple enough in it’s intent however to keep you involved even if you don’t read a single line of text.
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