DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Anton Bitel's film review of Persepolis

Perhaps this defines the art of the DVD extra – stay simple, stay real.

With the exception of co-writer/director Vincent Paronnaurd's interview going on too long, the Persepolis package is nigh on perfect. There must have been a temptation to concentrate entirely on Marjane Satrapi. As the creator of the original graphic novel and co-writer/director of the animated film, she is a ball of energy, with an effervescent sense of humour and sex appeal to spare. She stars, if that is the right word, in the Making Of section, entitled La Face Cachee De Persepolis (Persepolis’ Hidden Side), which is gripping, fascinating and absorbing, when one has come to expect similar featurettes on other DVDs to be a muddled mess of on-set banter and impromptu comments from cast and crew.

Copy picture

The Raging Blues short by Paronnaud is quirky and fun, without being laugh-out-loud. The Interview section is the main platform. Graphic novelists Joe Sacco (“We’re doing it for serious reasons; we’re artists”) and Brian K Vaughan (“Movies have a great deal to learn from comics”), with their intelligent and sincere approach to an art form they feel totally committed to, dispel any surviving prejudice against comic book illustrators as somehow less than important.

The American actress Gena Rowlands talks of voicing the grandmother in the English language version. Although admitting an ignorance of Iran, she says, “I felt very close to that family.” What was surprising was that she dubbed the voice blind, without seeing the visuals, only having Marjane to guide her.

Paronnaud says that the project took three years. They spent four months on the screenplay. “We decided pretty early on to distance ourselves from the original work. That was the best decision we made. We set off in a precise direction, centred on exile and nostalgia. The film is more symbolic than the book.” He calls himself an artist. “People think that Marjane’s style is naïve, but they’re absolutely wrong. It’s delicate but powerful. She’s someone who talks a lot, but is extremely giving. We come from a background where art is more important than anything else.”

And it shows.

Reviewed on: 27 Aug 2008
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Persepolis packshot
A girl's eye view of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
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Product Code: OPTD1276

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Short film Raging Blues; Making Of featurette; interviews with Vincent Paronnaud, Gena Rowlands, Joe Sacco and Brian K Vaughan; trailer

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