Sunday, March 28, 2010
FILM #12: 'Persepolis' (2007--08)
Directed by Marjane Satrapi and based on her own memoirs, this witty animated film loudly presents a perspective of Iran most Westerners would be seeing for the first time. Clearly the title character--like Miss Satrapi--is from the upper educated class but that doesn't make the writing less authentic. In an age where Pixar is defining the way 3D animation can be juxtaposed to great story-telling, its heartening to see the old 2D stuff still holding its own.
More stunning though is the in-depth analysis of life in Iran. What Satrapi makes clear is that the lives of the youngsters are the same anywhere they are and that it takes more than a revolution to alter that. Her story is also caustic and brilliant in the satire juxtaposed to the comedic interference of divinity in the state of things and sexual tension. References to other cultural icons (Michael Jackson, 'Che' Guevera ect) and the suppression of the Western life is explored exquisitely throughout the ninety-plus minutes that we watch Persepolis grow up to the point of becoming her own woman and, finally, our headstrong feminist hero.
FILM #11: 'United 93' (2006)
Nearly ten years after the horrific events that brought down the Twin Towers, Paul Greengrass' film feels just as fresh and disturbing. I still feel this was the best film released in 2006 because Greengrass' signature tension makes watching the action almost unbearable. Utilizing real aviation personnel and relatives of those who perished adds authenticity but the sequential order that he assembles is simultaneously non-judgmental and sacrosanct.