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Graphic Novel vs Movie vs Classification

nk0825's picture

 Watching Persepolis after reading the graphic novel was a bit disappointing. I always enjoy watching movie adaptations of novels because it provides readers with another interpretation, another way of viewing the plot. Although I may not always agree with the director, I always find the experience worthwhile. However, with Satrapi’s film version of Persepolis I was given the same storyline, pictures, verbatim. Granted, there were a few discrepancies and Satrapi did exclude certain frames and scenarios from the movie. But, I can surely say that I enjoyed reading the graphic novel version more than watching the movie. Like others have said I feel that the narration was lost in the movie and the story moved too quickly. This could mean either A) I felt that the novel version was too long but was unaware of this at the time because I had not yet seen the movie or B) the movie jipped the novel by excluding certain passages. I suppose that I think Satrapi’s film was more superficial than the graphic novel, and although the cartoon aspect of the movie kept the two modes closely linked I think a physical human representation would have been more interesting. But, maybe Satrapi felt that having humans executing her story would make the story too “real”, going back to our discussion on graphic novels contemplating unfathomable realities…


Thinking more about the connection between autobiography and Persepolis I think Nancy Miller hits the nail on the head: “Memoirs from sites of danger provide a safe space for readers to ponder the nightmare of contemporary global relations.” I strongly believe that this loops back once more to our discussion of Persepolis dealing with things we perceive as “unimaginable.” In Satrapi’s form—simplistic graphics—it helps the readers understand what's going on, but it distantly handles the situations. For instance, the image of the man supposedly cut into pieces is an absolutely horrific image, yet the cuts are straight, there’s little blood, the image is a simplistic, even unrealistic image of reality. This simplicity absolutely provides a “safe distance” for the readers to handle the horrific material found in Persepolis. These images safely urge us to probe further into the emotions and repercussions of situations, yet allow readers to remain somewhat detached—the readers are not scarred by the same images that plague Satrapi. In a way, it’s as if Satrapi is protecting the reader from the realities she seeks to expose. This is similar to a mother who wants to protect her child, preserving their innocence by shielding them from the horrors of the world. Granted, I don't think Satrapi is trying to preserve our innocence, I actually think she's trying to break through the ignorance of western civilization, but her actions mimic those of a worried mother hen....


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