There's something about girl-coming-of-age tales that really resonate with me. Ronja the Robber's Daughter, Spirited Away, To Kill A Mockingbird, Whale Rider, Because of Winn-Dixie, Kiki's Delivery Service, Juno... The female character is strong and capable, yet vulnerable and sensitive. The setting is personal and immediate, but often seeks to illuminate a deeper political or social context. I am enthralled by the scope and sentiment of this type of story.
Persepolis is the latest example. The tale is an account of Marjane, an Iranian girl living with her parents in Tehran at the end of the 1970s. She is the quintessential high-spirited youth: inquisitive, intelligent, in love with her parents and the world around her. The film portrays the exuberance of life at her age, an age in which everything is new and exciting. I find that kind of joy almost heartbreaking in its purity.
Though the film depicts the horrifying violence and crippling social control of the fundamentalist regime, it also is touched with gentle humor and the warmth of human kindness. It is a sad tale of the end of innocence, without simple answers or resolutions. But like all coming-of-age tales, it filled me with wonder and a desire to strive for a richer, fuller life.