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Movie Review: Persepolis

Alternate Title: Lost in Transition

Story: I may have to rethink my usual negativity when it comes to animation on the big screen. This warm, sensitive, funny, sad and intelligent film has altered all of my preconceived ideas. It was written and directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud and is based on the two autobiographical graphic novels by Ms. Satrapi.

The film spans the political turmoil in Iran from 1978 through the mid -1990's. How little Marjane, who was a child when the Shah was overthrown, perceives the vastly changing world around her is the heart and soul of the film. How does a kid understand revolution, executions, torture, jail and death? How her upper class, intellectual family handles the upheaval and still tries to have Marjane lead a normal life is touching and real.

Marjane's exploits include an escape to Vienna for her teenage years, back to Iran, when she longs for home, regardless of the costs and her final exodus out of Iran as a young woman to France. You will care deeply for the characters. It is great storytelling. It is history told through a child's eye. It is fine cinema.

Do not let the simple black and white animation fool you. There is nothing black and white about his film.

PS. Persepolis was the name of the Persian capital that was founded in the 6th Century BC and was later destroyed by Alexander the Great.

Acting: The wonderful warm voices include Chiara Mastroianni as teenage and adult Marjane, Catherine Deneuve (real life mother of Chiara Mastroianni) as the mother Tadji, Danielle Darrieux as the spicy grandmother, Simon Abkarian as the father, Ebi, Gabrielle Lopes as young Marjane and François Jerosme as the doomed, Uncle Anouche.

Predilection: I do like politics and this film is about politics.

Critters: Two funny dogs, one named Shotzi and one named Yutzi and a cat.

Food: Animated pasta

Sex Spectrum: There is sex - but we do not see any.

Blatant Product Placement: Some musicians are named such as the Bee Gees, Michel Jackson and Iron Maiden - all in funny sequences.

Soundtrack: Delightful.

Opening Titles: Lovely black, white and gray graphics,

Visual Art: Animation coordinated by a very talented Christian Desmares.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded for the day after Christmas.

Weather: Iran has four seasons.

Sappy Factor: 0

Squirm Scale: Jail is squirmy and the Islamic fashion police are also squirmy.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: I was not sure what was going to happen.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: The film shared the top prize at Cannes this year and is French film entry for the Oscars.

Big Screen or Rental: Either would be fine.

Length: 90 minutes