Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm not sure how I found Jucifer. It's been a while, and I've downloaded some of their stuff, which I really like. They're pretty much a noise-core band from Georgia. But let's be honest here: It's a girl with a guitar, and you know my weakness for that combination.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I went on a movie binge last night... well, it was two movies, so it wasn't much of a binge, but it's been months since I've sat in an actual movie theater, and once I was in, I had to go back at least one more time. See, I was thinking I would do a marathon tonight, but I'm busy. I'm making another movie with Film School Girl (FSG from here on out), and since she's the director, when she says "Jump," I ask "How high" while my feet are already leaving the ground. Some of you know FSG from my time over at Straight Dope. So you know what an idiot I am for doing this.

Maybe "idiot" is too strong a word. Probably not, though.

That's not the point, though. The point is, I finally saw Persepolis, the film adaptation of the graphic novel. I reviewed the first book of Persepolis way back when Here's the link. I've actually found that the further away I get from that review, the more I love the book. Not that I gave it a bad review. Hell, that quote from USA Today you see on the copy of the book (not that new single edition, but the old split edition), that's me. I just wasn't as enchanted by the art as I am now.

So after having seen the film, I have to say that 2007 was a great year for animation. I haven't seen all of the "live action" movies that are being hailed as the greatest things in the world (I'm working on it), but if you asked me to name five films that stood out in 2007, it would be reasonable to cite four animated films, Persepolis among them.

Persepolis tells the tale of Marjane Satrapi (the author), as she grows up in Iran during the time of the revolution, her time in Vienna as a teen, and then her return to Iran as a young woman during the repressive time of the Ayatolla. The animation in the film reflects what Satrapi put in her graphic novel. However, with the advent of doing this movie digitally (it's still technically 2-D), there is some visual depth that was missing from the graphic novel.

This may sound like I'm downing on the graphic novel, but I'm not. Not only should you go out and see this movie, you shoudl buy the book, preferably the version with my quote on the cover. Once you buy that book, you should write the publisher and let them know it was my quote that caused you to buy the book, and that it should be displayed prominantly on ever edition from here on out. With my name included in the citation.

I'm just sayin'.

In my review, I wrote that the book was "a mighty achievement," and the film is no less. In fact, let me write it for the film: "A mighty achievement." I mean, it's beautiful. Most of it is in black and white and shades of gray. The characters are simply drawn, but incredibly expressive, so much so that I have to admit that I got teary-eyed a few times during the movie.

One thing, though, that struck me when I read the book, and again when I saw the movie, was the diversity of the characters. It seems that whenever we here in the States see depictions of Muslims in the news - or even just in the media in general - we get one image: The zealot. The fundamentalist. Some yahoo in a turban, chanting something about the great Satan; a woman in a burqa or chador, scurrying through the streets, a couple steps behind a man.

In Persepolis, Satrapi shows a world where there are shades of gray (hence the color scheme), where the women talk about sex (apparently to some Iranian women, it is the size of the paddle, not the motion of the ocean), the men talk about Marxist revolution, everyone wants to have fun, and Marjane wears a "Punk is not Ded!" back patch.

It's the kind of reminder that we need these days that our supposed enemy has a face, has nuances, is just as gray as the rest of us.