Kelvin Chan Mankey
Persepolis is a simple yet significant story that touches me. Living in Hong Kong, a colourful metropolitan city, people may take many things for granted which are likely to be overlooked by lucky ones like me and forget that I am more fortunate than many living on this planet.
A story about a curious girl growing up in Iran has shed light on the mysterious and conservative country, and reminds me of what I have neglected in the past.
Persepolis, written by Iran-born writer Marjane Satrapi, is a French animated film adapted from her well-sold autobiographical novel. The plot is set between 1978 to the early 1990s in Teheran. The writer lived through the Islamic revolution, Iran-Iraq War and the arrival of Taliban. She witnessed the change of Iran and the bitterness of Iranian, and gives a convincing presentation of the locale.
Instead of using 3D computer graphics, the story was told through simple, hand drawn, and predominately black and white animation which allows the audience to swallow the harshness of the characters’ experience and to bring the complicated and significant messages tor audiences to muse on.
A few simple scenes portraying Marjane’s daily life can directly project how the Iranian are suppressed. The conservative country regards invasion of Western culture as a ruin of the Iranian simple life: going to private parties and having booze is like playing hide and seek with the police; western music is regarded as nonsense. Fun comes from the pursuit that comes with every suppression.
Identity is another primary message linking up the story. For some Hongkongers grew up in colonial periods, it might be easier to understand the experience Majane has in the film. Studying and living in Europe is tough for this Iranian girl. The main obstacle she laces is how to adapt to a foreign culture.
Marjane is also regarded as a foreigner even when she was back to Iran, her home, where her friends and relatives asked her about the living style outside Iran.
The story leaves audience contemplating on the Iranian society and its culture, it leaves us to question issues regarding fairness and equality, and also to reflect on how we often take things, which are luxury for other, for granted.
Edited by Snowy Choi Suet-ying