Sunday, January 15, 2012
Alan Smithee is aware that what The Man tells us about the country of Iran does not square with what he knows of Iran from the films of Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Jafar Panahi, and others. A viewing of Kiarostami's Ten (2002) should be enough to throw doubt on The Man's current characterization of Iran. Americans in particular should be wary when anyone equates the character of a nation with the policies of its government.
Persepolis began as a "graphic novel," and it went a long way toward showing the gap between the values of Iranian people and their fundamentalist government. But where the cartoon was funny, touching, and educational, the film is preachy and confusing. And Marjane, the heroine of the book, comes across here as insufferable; she seems unable or unwilling to get along with anyone, and is disdainful of everyone except her immediate family.
The animation looks great, but that doesn't make Marjane any more likable.
Alan Smithee recommends you go see WALL·E (2008); if you've already seen it, then today would be a good day to stay sober and read Persepolis on the couch. It's worth it.