Well, of all the films we have selected of recent vintage—I simply loved Persepolis, but I am a sucker for coming of age movies.  I found this film particularly captivating.  I was wondering, the use of the color scenes—most critics say it simply shows “present time”.  I am wondering does it go beyond that?  Probably not, but. . . I still wonder. 


I am hoping that our resident Iranian specialist will comment (I couldn’t get to the discussion, if it has happened).  But I am especially interested in the “on the street” impact of the Revolution as perceived by one who has been there and experienced the streets of NOW. 


So, a plus for the flick from me and below are some notes and references for those of you who might want to wonder in and out of the halls of meaning related to this film—and it will make ya super smart at our next meeting!!!!   Won’t it?


Places to do some research:


A beginning:



Some awareness of the Revolution is important.



Rotten Tomatoes is a great place for many reviews



Well, there was this city. . . symbolic meaning, yup, but you have to put that together in your mind.  Pictures and all at:



Animation in black-and-white, autobiographical, growing up in Iran during the reign of the Shah and later, the Islamists, 3 July 2007

Author: collingonze from Switzerland

The black-and-white animation, highly stylized and two dimensions which doesn’t attempt to render the usual cartoon 3-D, summarizes in quick, intelligent flashes, often impressionistic, growing up in Teheran and Vienna from a highly personal point of view. The narrative is as original as the art. The narrator, Marjane Satrapi, only daughter of an educated Teheran couple, first sketches in briefly how the Shah first came to power,only to lose it and have it replaced by the fanatical religious regime of today. Educated in a French school, she and her family are rapidly alienated from the so-called revolution; she is sent to Vienna to continue her education, falls in with a group of punks and eventually returns both depressed and disillusioned to Teheran where, with other university students, she must submit to the rule of extreme Islamists.

The story covers a great deal of ground from the point of view of a young pro-Western culture radical, and is told with humor and intelligence. She laughs at herself as much as at the semi-lunatic Guards of the Revolution.

Satrapi’s hold on reality is much strengthened under the influence of her highly honest grandmother who teaches her not co compromise, not to betray and not to give in.

This is no fairy tale with flying horses and beautiful princesses, but a serious, unsentimental and sometimes brutally honest film covering, among other events, the story of the millions of Iranians and Iraqis who died in a now forgotten seven year war around the Persian Gulf.

Plot summary

The film begins with Marjane, a bright, rambunctious only child, growing up under the Shah’s dictatorship. Her parents are urban educated bourgeoisie who hope for political change and democracy with the end of the Shah’s rule. Marjane herself dreams of being the last of the prophets, initially praising and then denouncing the Shah.

As revolts against the Shah accumulate, her uncle, a Communist cadre from the provinces of Azerbaijan, is freed from prison; he tells how he had fought for the triumph of the proletariat, even escaping to the Soviet Union at one point in his life and studying in Moscow. However, like other leftists, he is arrested under the aegis of the Islamic Revolution and sentenced to execution. Before his death under the new regime, he dedicates his single prison visit to Marjane, an act which makes a deep impression on her.

As Marjane grows up under the new Islamic regime, she becomes a rebellious adolescent, wearing a traditional headscarf with adidas sneakers and a “Punk Is Not Ded [sic]” jacket. She listens to “rebel” music like The Bee Gees (later in adolescence her musical tastes turn to Iron Maiden). Her grandmother, a tender yet independent woman, is another of her influences, teaching her the importance of integrity.

When the grueling Iran-Iraq war starts her parents fear for her safety and welfare. Since she had studied at the French Lycee of Tehran, she is sent, logically enough, to the French Lycee of Vienna. The Iranian teenager does not fit in well in Austria, but ends up making friends with nihilist and anomic upper class students. She spends Christmas holidays alone while her friends travel to meet their families in Brazil and other countries. She suffers an existential crisis after an unsuccessful relationship, and ends up sleeping on the streets of Vienna. After coughing up blood due to severe case of bronchitis and being hospitalized, she asks her parents if she may return to Iran, no questions asked.

Back in her home country she becomes depressed upon seeing the dire situation of her family and former friends with the Islamic regime becoming even more oppressive and extreme. At the end, she pulls herself together (to the tune of “The Eye of the Tiger“) and studies Fine Arts in the University of Tehran. Matters like studying anatomy with chadored women and frequent interruptions by Guards of the Revolution cadres cause her to protest.

Marjane’s outspoken protests at the university cause her parents to fear for her safety, and they persuade her to emigrate to Paris, leaving her family behind.

Well, enjoy your musings about this film—and now to own it when it appears on DVD.

Cheerfully,  The Phantom


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