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A PERSIAN PARADOX IN PARIS,
This review is from: The Complete Persepolis (Paperback)
The privileged child of a pro communist Teheran family tells her somewhat hedonistic and always veracious adventures in the backdrop of a war and revolution,the travesty becomes reality as she proceeds to her personal predicament ,a girl's transition to a woman in the context of preserving her bosom with 'jasmine flowers' is both poetic and filled with pathos as she is destroyed almost by, a perfunctory western culture of drug and hard metal,her contempt of religious authority is only equalled by the patronising condescension of her western peers with their pseudo intellectual gibberish and selfishness,
Yet she gives a horrific account of the terrible war wrought upon a newly freed Iran by the American ally Saddam ,the bilateral arming of the 2 oil rich nations by west,resulting in an unforgivable massacre is described appropriately .
The political comment even goes to claim the revolution could have donned another mantle if a weak Iran had not been targeted by iraq at America's behest.
The coming of age in a French Viennese school is a satire on the artifice and hypocrisy of the western claims to civilization ,the racial patronising as an Iranian and her sexual coming of age with european men who use her as a portal to discover their homosexuality and later to buy cannabis is dark humour but pathetically predatory .
She wins ultimately as she discovers her intuitive strength as a woman who needs a man not for security but intellectual consumption ,her sojourn to Paris after her obligatory marriage in Iran is a liberation not from a regime ,which are all the same in their hierarchy and Machiavellian political antics,but rather an enlightening self-discovery.
She finds liberty with her wise granny who teaches that the only ugliness in the world is a lie and it is refreshing to see her critique of the hypocrisy of the attires assigned to male and women students in tehran university.
The movie is a poetic blend of verisimilitude and monochrome images juxtaposed with colour occassionally and always spellbinding to watch .
It spares no one -the bearded Iranian revolutionaries ,the hypocrisy of Catholic nuns -the predatory sex drug culture of the west or the political games of the superpowers which treat people as fodder for missiles .
But its inherent strength for me lies in a honest account of a disillusioned,spirited woman who becomes content when she is true to herself, not listening to bootlegged iron maiden and guzzling home-made wine.
Her pride in being Iranian is the key to understanding a personal account which is neither a mockery of mullahs nor a celebration of female emancipation ,but rather a search for your own truth .
Marjane means a precious gem in Farsi and Persepolis was the ancient persian capital torched to ashes by Alexander -the metaphor for the bombing of modern Iran by western bombs is complete -time comes full circle.
The movie might be black and white but the content is so rich and diverse it needs no color ,an ingenious invention for a tired medium.
I will recommend multiple viewings for this dvd in french and english both, as Catherine deneuve and Chiara have dubbed the brilliant black and white visuals .