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Reviewed on 2008-02-07
Received[3.5]  out of 4 stars
GenreAnimation / Drama
This Oscar-nominated animated film is based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical comic strips. A poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious, blunt and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution. The tile refers to the ancient ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire built during the reign of Cyrus the Great.

Satrapi, a graphic artist and novelist, collaborated with her Parisian studio-mate Vincent Paronnaud to recollect memories from her unforgettable childhood within a large and loving family in Tehran. Her personal story is told in a unique and distinctive style with hand-drawn, black-and-white animated characters.

We first meet Marjane (voiced by Chiara Mastroianni, real-life daughter of Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve) at age 8. She grows up before our eyes while her daily existence is subjected to the horrors of war, revolution and state repression.

The movie takes a linear approach chronicling girlhood, adolescence and her early 20s. The movie is book-ended in color with her arrival in France at age 24 after she leaves Iran for the last time with her family’s blessing.

The quirky, joyous and humorous approach is reminiscent of “The Triplets of Belleville.” Key roles are played by Marjane’s mother (Catherine Deneuve), father and grandmother.

A lot of common sense advice is dished out to the audience. Some of the best include: “Keep your dignity and be true to yourself” and “Never forget who you are and where you came from.”

This worthwhile movie will make you thankful for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. The 95-minute running time goes by in the blink of an eye.

French with English subtitles. This worldwide film festival favorite is now playing exclusively at the Leawood, Tivoli and AMC Studio 30.

Review By:
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"

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