This is a very fine film. Anything that discards American cookie-cutter notions of Arab culture is probably helpful, and this film does a whole lot more than that. This story takes on larger questions of identity without limiting itself merely to cultural identity.
This is a rich personal story that captures one Iranian woman’s journey from her home country, into exile in France, and back again. The story of Marjane ‘Marji’ Satrapi and her family has as its narrative backdrop the recent history of Iran. As if to accentuate the two narratives, the animators render characters in 2-dimensional black and white while the backgroung is often rich with layers of gray – grainy, gritty, and elaborate.
There are enough layers of grief, humanity, humor, and pop-culture references to make the story tangible for western audiences. Marji’s defiance and despair in the face of repressive Iranian authorities makes this a very sympathetic story. This is a smart film, and one with a big heart.