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Living Pictures

Jessica Watkins's picture

I'm having trouble deciding which version of Persepolis I enjoyed more: the graphic novel or the film.  I realized while I was watching the film that there are some aspects of this media that can simply not be replicated in the pages of a book, graphic or not.  I think I found myself more engaged and drawn to the film because of its use of sound--it was easier to relate to characters more deeply when I heard their voices and could differentiate between them (for example, between the deep voice of Uncle Anoush and the high-pitched, childlike voice of Marji) and the sounds of battle ensuing and illegal music blaring worked to this same effect.  Unlike the graphic novel, where speech bubbles could be easily confused depending on whose head they were hovering above, the film version of Persepolis left little room for guessing and thus made the experience of following the story a little "easier" than reading the graphic novel (Is this a byproduct of growing up in a culture where film is often more sought-after than text? Does film actually make the interwoven concepts in the graphic novel Persepolis easier to understand, and if so is it catering to those brains made lazy by a cultures of moving pictures?).  Also, the use of music during certain scenes of the film added to the drama of whatever event was occurring.  One of the downsides of the film was its inability to include all the details from the two graphic novels (something that was bound to happen if Satrapi didn't want to make a 4 hour-long film), which left me wondering if I truly appreciated this abridged version more than its graphic novel counterpart.  Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves which we would prefer and which works better to get a point across: the permeating silence that lies between the pages of a book, or the symphony of sound that flows from a film.  

Comments

Molly's picture

Yes

"Is this a byproduct of growing up in a culture where film is often more sought-after than text? Does film actually make the interwoven concepts in the graphic novel Persepolis easier to understand, and if so is it catering to those brains made lazy by a cultures of moving pictures?"

This is an interesting question, teal.  To answer it, I wouldn't say that films are always, as you say, "catering to those brains made lazy by a cultures of moving pictures."  While there are, without a doubt, lazy brains out there, I believe that films can often make the concepts in a book more complicated and deeper than they already were.  Think about it--you mentioned the addition of music in the film, which throws a whole other element into the mix of the issues that were originally presented in the book and recreated in the film.  The viewer is then left to not only think about the images and the dialogue, but also how the music relates to what is going on, what it means, etc.  That's just one example, but I hope it sums up pretty accurately why I believe that films have more depth to them than most would think.

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