No matter what, you must always be yourself and never do what the rest of society tells you to do. That is the lesson of Persepolis. This masterful work of animation is a darkly comic coming of age story set in the background of the Iranian Revolution of the late 70s.
Marjane is just a child as efforts to overthrow the emperor and strive for a democracy. She also lives through Iran’s bloody war with Iraq. Marjane is not like most girls however. She wears a vail walking down the streets but underneath wheres a pair of sneakers and listens to Iron Maiden. She was born in a family of political prisoners and therefore learns how to stand up and most importantly, always be proud of who you are.
The Iranian Revolution was a perfect way to show a coming of age story. It allowed this girl to leave and roam free while discovering harsh lessons about life throughout the world like artificialness of love and the cruelty of strangers.
Instead of using the typical computer animation, the director decided instead to go traditional. Every character looks like a 2D cutout but they gush with life and fascinating stories to tell. Persepolis reaches the height of the greatest works of Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) as an animated film that reaches out to its younger audience while still ringing true to the adults that view as well. Everything is mythical but relatable, each shot stunning. The lessons of this film may guide the lives of the younger viewers wise enough to watch it and give them a better understanding of the world. This is one of the year’s best films.