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 Persepolis (film)

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Invader Zim
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PostSubject: Persepolis (film)   Persepolis (film) Icon_minitimeThu Nov 18, 2010 6:54 pm

The film begins in an airport where Marjane Satrapi is unable to board a plane to Iran. Sitting down to smoke a cigarette, she remembers her life as a girl in 1978 at the age of 9. As a child, Marji lived in Tehran with dreams of being a prophet and an emulator of Bruce Lee. Juxtaposing her childhood ambitions is the general uprising against the US-backed Shah of Iran, with her middle-class family participating in rallies and protests with high hopes for a better society. Meanwhile, Marji attempts to identify with her generation's point of view, whether it is threatening the child of an unpopular government official, or competing for the greater childish prestige of having a relative who has been a political prisoner the longest time. Marji and a group of friends attempt to attack a young boy whose father killed Communists for job porposes, but they are stopped by her mother. That night, God appears before her to teach her about forgiveness, and about how she should not take justice into her own hands. One day Marji's Uncle Anoush arrives to have dinner with the family and catch up with them after recently being released from prison. Anoush tells Marji about his life on the run from the government for rebelling with his Communist ideology. He also speaks of his time spent in prison to subtly warn Marjane of the consequences of standing up for innocent people.

During this time all political enemies ceased fighting and elections for a new leading power commenced. However, things do not get any better for the family, when they are profoundly upset when Islamic Fundamentalists win the elections with 99.99% of the vote and force Iranian society into its own kind of repressive state. The hands of the law, now controlled by Khomeini, makes laws that make things worse for the Iranian people, such as forcing women to dress modestly (including wearing the hijab) to rearresting and executing Anoush for his political beliefs. Profoundly disillusioned, Marji rejects her prophetic aspirations before God and tries with her family to fit into the reality of the intolerant regime. To make things worse, the Iran-Iraq war breaks out and Marji sees for herself the horrors or death and destruction; the Iranian government begins implementing blatant laws that create ridiculous injustices.

Marji witnesses her father threatened by teenage government officials wielding machine-guns and watches her critically ill uncle die because an unqualified government-appointed hospital administrator refuses to let him go abroad for medical treatment. The family tries to find some solace in secret parties where they can enjoy simple pleasures the government has outlawed, such as alcohol. As she grows up, Marji begins a life of over-confidence, where she refuses to stay out of trouble, where she secretly buys Western heavy metal music on the black market, wears unorthodox clothing such as a denim jacket, and even celebrating punk rock and other Western music sensations like Michael Jackson, or openly rebutting a teacher's lies about the abuses of the government.

Fearing her arrest for her outspokenness, Marji's parents make the difficult decision to send her to a French Lycée in Vienna, Austria in 1983 where she could be safe and free to express herself. She lives with Catholic nuns when she arrives and soon finds herself on edge with the discriminatory and judgmental nuns. Marji does make new friends, but ultimately she feels intolerably isolated in a foreign land surrounded by annoyingly superficial people who take their freedoms for granted. As the years pass on, Marji is expelled from the Lycée for verbally abusing a nun, and is driven out into the streets. Marji continues to go from house to house, until ending up in a house of Frau Dr. Heller, a retired philosophy teacher. One night, Her grandmother's voice about staying true to herself resonates within her when she leaves a party after lying about her nationality; telling an acquaintance that she was French. Her shame culminates in a passionate love affair with Markus, a debonair native that traumatically ends on her eighteenth birthday when she discovers him cheating on her. Also, her previous lover reveals himself to be in love with some else after a bad love experience with Marji. Marjane falls apart over her breakup, and when she is accused of stealing Frau Dr. Heller's brooch, Marji gets fed up and angrily leaves. She spends the day on a park bench, and reflects upon how cruel Markus was to her. She soon discovers that she has nowhere to go and ends up living on the street for a few months. Eventually, she becomes so ill that she contracts bronchitis, and almost ends up dying.

Eventually, Marji recovers in a Vienna Hospital, and returns to Iran in 1987, with her family's permission and hopes that the conclusion of the war would mean an improved life there. After a while of spending her time in front of television for days on end, doing nothing to advance her life, Marji falls into a clinical depression over the state of affairs in Iran and the misery that has nearly ruined her family. It is not clearly explained in the movie, but she attempts to quell by overdosing on her medication. She gets into bed and closes her eyes before she enters a dream where God and the spirit of Karl Marx appear before her to remind her of what is important and encourage her to go on with living. She bounces back with renewed determination and begins enjoying life again: she attends university classes, goes to parties, and even enters a relationship with a fellow student, who is later revealed to be Reza.

With the recent death of Khomeini, Marji notices that things have gradually gone worse; she discovers that Iranian society is more tyrannized than ever with numerous atrocities occurring. With Ali Khamenei now controlling the society, Mass executions for political beliefs and petty religious absurdities and hypocrisies have become common in everyday life (she and her boyfriend are caught holding hands and their parents forced to pay a fine), much to Marjane's dismay. While this makes living as both a student and a woman intolerable, Marji manages holds on to her rebellious attitude. However, she starts resorting to personal survival tactics to protect herself, such as falsely accusing a man of making a pass at her to avoid being arrested for wearing make up and marrying her boyfriend to avoid scrutiny by the religious police. Her grandmother, disappointed Marji's behaviour, berates Marji, and tells her that both her grandfather and her uncle both died supporting freedom and innocent people, and that she never forsake them or her family by succumbing to the repressive environment of Iran. Marji, realising her mistake, does what she can to fix it, and her grandmother is pleased upon hearing that Marjane openly confronted the blatant sexist double standard in her university's forum on public morality.

By 1994, her marriage is falling apart and things come to a end when a party is raided by the police which results in a friend being killed trying to escape. After these incidents and her divorce, the family decides that Marji leave the country again, and this time permanently, to avoid her being targeted by the authorities as a political dissident. Marji's mother then forbids Marji from coming back, to which Marji reluctantly agrees to. Her grandmother was never to be seen ever again by Marji, and she dies soon after her departure. Back to present day, Marji leaves the airport, and she takes a taxi from there. When the driver asks where she is from, she sighs, "Iran" showing she is proud of who she is and where she comes from. Her final memory is of her grandmother telling her how she placed jasmine in her brassiere to allow her to smell lovely every day, and the credits then follow.

in my opinion this film is gripping and very disturbing at the same time

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