Archive for the Animation Category

Ah, stimulation

Posted in Animation with tags on October 12, 2010 by kokairu

After an evening of light entertainment between 7:40 pm and 10:00 pm on Saturday, my housemate suggested putting on a film: his choice was Persepolis. I was pretty tired at this point, but it was a Saturday, so I felt like being a bit wild and impulsive. Being sleepy wasn’t the best state to be in, plus I have a wretched attention span anyway. This is the main reason why I enjoy animations over live action films – they’re just easier to follow. Saying that, whilst I still find them enjoyable, pretentious animations (such as Waking Life or Neon Genesis Evangelion) annoy me somewhat, just like any other film that seems like it’s deliberately trying to confuse you. I can’t help but get the feeling that films like that just don’t want you to understand them (perhaps because the underlying meaning really isn’t anything special?)… but by the time you’ve figured it out, you’re so pleased that you’ll boast about how good the film is, because you ‘get it.’ That’s just a theory I’ve contemplated, and to be honest, maybe I’m just bitter because my ‘low spec’ attention span isn’t compatible with such films. Though I think I understood Eva the last time I watched it. Think. I’m always wary if I believe to have understood something like that, because it seems more likely that I’ve missed the point.

All I knew of Persepolis was that it is an animation set in the Iranian revolution (I’d wanted to see it a while ago, but never got round to it). Plus, I automatically believed it would belong to the category above. However, after an arty farty opening segment, the film really began, and my God, I was hooked from the word go. The story is incredible in itself (based on one that is true, of course). It follows the protagonist, Marjane, as she grows up in Iran, with the revolution as a backdrop. The style of the animation, being based on a graphic novel, is very cartoony at times, and it works. The script has a great deal of humour in it, and the designs compliment that; for example, the oppressed Iranian women extending their practice to younger Iranian women (including the protagonist) are depicted as demon-like in their Hijab-style dress code, as are the Catholic nuns of Vienna in their habits. The soundtrack plays a key role, too, complimenting some very haunting segments.

It required some concentration, in that if you blink you’ll miss key moments or characters, but I couldn’t take my eyes off it anyway. As you might have guessed, this is a very unusual occurrence for me, and just goes to show how captivating the film is. Maybe I was just lacking some form of stimulation, feeling somewhat brain dead after 2 ½ hours of The X Factor… all the same, I can’t recommend it enough. I certainly have a new-found appreciation for the society that I live in. Persepolis will stay with me for a good while.