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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 95 minutes, three featurettes, select scene commentary, animated scene comparisons with commentary
VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, Spanish

STUDIO: Sony Pictures Classics
RELEASE DATE: 6-24-2008

Writer/ Director Marjane Satrapi grew up in Iran. She witnessed the changes from the Fall of the Shah to worse oppression. PERSEPOLIS is her story. It began as a four volume graphic novel. Now she is co-directing with fellow graphic novelist Vincent Paronnaud an animated adaption of her graphic novel. It is stylized animation, mostly in black and white, drawing from the German expressionist films of the 1920s. PERSEPOLIS is the journey of a little girl who sees the changing political climate and gets sent away to school in Vienna to grow into a woman. She ends up in Iran again after a few years only to realize that Iran is a place where she doesn't belong anymore. PERSEPOLIS is also about standing up to what you believe in. It is a deeply moving and sometimes funny piece of work. The animation adds to the charm and allows for a dash of the surreal.

The DVD has the original French language track and the English dub track (which was directed by Marjane Satrapi and features the same lead voice actress in the French version- Chiara Mastoianni). The English dub track is just as good as the best directed dubs for Japanese anime.

THE HIDDEN SIDE OF PERSEPOLIS goes into the making of the animation (from line drawings to tracing to inking to finishing touchings), sound design, and the mad process of Marjane Satrapi from acting out every part with the animators and the voice actors. Features interviews with Marjane Satrapi, Chiara Mastoianni, Vincent Paronnaud, and various members of the animation team.

BEHIND THE SCENES OF PERSEPOLIS is a shorter version of the above featurette (but in English) and also features interviews with the English voice actors and a look at the directing process of that version.

Also included is the 2007 Cannes Film Festival press Conference for PERSEPOLIS that features a producer of Steven Spielberg's- Kathleen Kenedy, Marjane Satrapi, Chiara Mastoianni, Vincent Paronnaud, the producers of the film, and some of the French voice actors.
The best extra besides THE HIDDEN SIDE OF PERSEPOLIS featurette are the animated scene comparisons with audio commentary by Marjane Satrapi. You get to see scenes that didn't make it into the final film and the animation tests for PERSEPOLIS.
Then there is select scene commentary by Marjane Satrapi, Chiara Mastoianni, and Vincent Paronnaud. It basically amounts to each person commenting on one scene. The extras are rounded out by trailers for other Sony Pictures releases including some from Sony Pictures Classics.

FINAL ANALYSIS: PERSEPOLIS is a unique and wonderful animated film. If Marjane Satrapi ever does another animated film, sign me up to see it. The great extras give a good insight into the making of the film. Watch it now.

this DVD review is (c)6-25-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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