In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh (Robert Gulaczyk) to deliver the troubled artist's final letter and ends up investigating his final days there.
A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is beckoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers.
In 1970s Iran, Marjane 'Marji' Satrapi watches events through her young eyes and her idealistic family of a long dream being fulfilled of the hated Shah's defeat in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. However as Marji grows up, she witnesses first hand how the new Iran, now ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, has become a repressive tyranny on its own. With Marji dangerously refusing to remain silent at this injustice, her parents send her abroad to Vienna to study for a better life. However, this change proves an equally difficult trial with the young woman finding herself in a different culture loaded with abrasive characters and profound disappointments that deeply trouble her. Even when she returns home, Marji finds that both she and homeland have changed too much and the young woman and her loving family must decide where she truly belongs.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
...in fact, there is nothing average about this film. Traditionally animated in black and white flashbacks, it tells the story of a French-speaking woman's childhood and young adulthood in Tehran, Iran, and in Vienna during the 1980s and '90s.
Marjane Satrapi grew up in a family of revolutionaries against the Shah's regime and the Islamic government that subsequently took hold, and the film literally illustrates her feelings and thought processes as a little girl, following her as the government control in Iran got more and more strict. When her parents insist she leave the country, we also see her struggling to deal with adolescence and missing her beloved family; when she returns, she is also coping with the increasing repression of her freedoms as a woman. Most of all, you see her own personal conflict as she tries to stay true to herself.
This movie beautifully balances both the historic and personal issues and pulls the threads together into a compelling narrative, made a bit quirky by the style of presentation, resulting in work that is altogether touching. Along with intelligence and humor, a deep and strong sense of truth infuses every part of this film, making it even stronger. One of my only qualms was the feeling that it ended somewhat abruptly without much of a conclusion.
Overall, though, it was fantastic - definitely worth watching.
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