Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Punk Is Not Ded!

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In addition to providing some much-needed perspective on the harsh realities of life in Iran for the average struggling family, the new animated film "Persepolis" is a poignant reminder of the power of music.

No, after my "Juno" experience, I'm not shifting beats into the world of film criticism. But I went to see the film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel at the Landmark Century Cinema yesterday with my wife and 11-year-old daughter, and all of us were touched by this simple but powerful movie.

One of the running themes is the forbidden allure of Western pop music in a world buttoned down tight by Islamic radicalism. The lines between genres may be a bit blurry for young Marjane, who sports a Michael Jackson button while scrawling "Punk Is Not Ded" on the back of her jean jacket. But all of those sounds, together with the black market Iron Maiden cassette that she risks life and liberty to buy on the street, represent freedom, life and truth in a way that we jaded Americans with a universe of music one mouse click away have long since come to take for granted.

Watch a trailer for the film, which nicely illustrates what I'm talking about, here. The dialog is in French, and the trailer lacks the subtitles provided in theaters. But the message comes through loud and clear.

"Run to the Hills" might not be on the top of my list for a Desert Island disc. But tell me the last time you've air-guitared with the passion and fury Iron Maiden prompts in our young heroine.

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I loved this film, but thought that the trailer was misleading and does not do the film justice. This movie is not about Islam. It is nothing more than a reflection about growing up through the Irani Revolution. Without more context, I would advise against retarded people forming/strengthening their stereotypes against the Muslim World based on this movie. On the contrary, you should come away with a stronger sense of our common humanity.

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