Symphony of Tong Fang

(originally published on Facebook on 16 August 2012)

“Once, I used to have snubby nose. After getting treated in Tong Fang, now my nose turns out like this. Thank you so much, Tong Fang!”

It has had all what the public appeases and disdains. And now, thanks to the endless play-on in Twitter, the ‘Tong Fang’, known for its satirized testimonies, has managed itself as the main national trend, at least until last week.

I’m not sure whether it is being scrutinized, but with all the parodies overwhelming on both social media and Internet (and most recently, through Blackberry broadcast messages), though intended only to make use of it colloquially, I’m so sure that the bosses must have felt so outraged a few days prior that I received one broadcast message from one of my friends, Alex. Exactly on Saturday weekend. Not a good news for all Indonesian lawyers, though.

The content of the message was written as follows (Bahasa Indonesia):

“Perhatian, kepada semua pengguna BB, FB, dan twitter, bahwasanya terhitung dari jam 7 pagi pihak kepolisian akan mencari seluruh status atau catatan yang menghina klinik TONG FANG dikarenakan direktur utama klinik tersebut tidak terima dengan segala hinaan oleh pengguna status jejaring sosial…bagi semua yang merasa membuat status penghinaan itu akan langsung menjadi tersangka dan dikenai hukuman penjara minimal 5 tahun..untuk itu selagi ada waktu lebih baik Anda semua menghapus status atau catatan tentang penghinaan klinik TONG FANG dari akun Anda..BERITA SUDAH DISIARKAN DI TV. Sekian trims #SFTBC”

Translated version:

Announcement to all Blackberry, Facebook, and Twitter members, it is to be forewarned that commencing at 7 am, police are going to examine either the entire status updates or posts which obviously offend TONG FANG clinic due to the resentment of the clinic’s main director who has nothing of the posts updated by the social media users to be ethically accepted. Anybody who feels to have made such unjustly updates are automatically charged as suspects and sentenced behind bars for 5 years. Thus, as long as there is time it is to be reminded that you had better remove all the posts regarding TONG FANG you have published from your accounts. The news has been broadcast in TV stations. Yours sincerely. Sorry for the broadcast.”

If this were to come true, hence Indonesia must have had its name erected in Guinness Book of World Records for the largest number of people legally sued: almost 40 million Facebook users from Indonesia, more than 30 million Twitter accounts, and millions of Blackberry users. And plus, up to 100 thousand civil advocates needed to speak up for their clients. Plus, regarding the statement ‘anybody who feels….automatically charged as suspects….’, I have an increasing sense of fear that the police do increasingly possess psychic powers. Only because we feel we once posted the tweets we were directly teleported into the prisons? It’s no longer terrifying; it’s all imaginary! Democracy and freedom of expression become malignant under the hands of the inscrutable!

Instead, now numerous TV stations face en masse criticism by Indonesian Broadcasting Committee (Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia, abbreviated as KPI), a regulatory body of national television broadcasting, as they perpetually continue to air the Tong Fang ads, complete with the ‘seemingly’ fabricated testimonies (those of which are later parodied) and the full-discount packages offered (a bit disconnected, I guess?).

Rather than take it seriously, just make it a Saturday-night joke. Imagine the bosses had to tirelessly debate with the 100,000 lawyers (hint: the bosses even care nothing about the ridicule! Read this post (Bahasa indonesia): http://atjehpost.com/read/2012/08/06/17045/23/8/Jadi-Bahan-Plesetan-Klinik-Tong-Fang-Cuek-).

Want more ridicule? One picture is not enough!

Go to: http://www.google.co.id/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=643&q=tong+fang&oq=tong+&gs_l=img.3.0.0i3j0l9.626.7722.0.9381.5.5.0.0.0.0.220.870.0j4j1.5.0…0.0…1ac.dAf75iO1my0

Note: it’s all only in Bahasa Indonesia. Use Google Translate as your most (un)reliable intrepreter.

Excellently ‘satirical’ review about Prometheus

 

(The actual original title is “The 43 Things ‘Prometheus’ Taught Me (About the Future & Science)”. Refer it to this link: http://bigthink.com/against-the-new-taboo/the-43-things-prometheus-taught-me-about-the-future-science)

Tauriq Moosa (like the name of an Egyptian presidential candidate, but he’s, instead, a South African bioethicist) is not trying to be a film critic. But he’s more in his effort on evaluating this sci-fi film – one which Ridley Scott claimed to have waited for over 3 decades on not making sci-fi films (instead on colossal films like Gladiator, or high-testosterone Black Hawk Down) only to arrive at the preconception of Alien’s origin he confessed as ‘fearlessly cool’ – from his bioethical perspective. Nevertheless, to say the least, it’s worth, and I even admit it, as elaborately stick-to-the-point and pretty much equivalent to as an Ebert piece. His inkings sound polite and courteous, but the core points might stab deeply and heart-breakingly, were Scott and Lindelof (the latter penned the script) to have conveyed his main message he would like to transmit from this article: I learn a lot (about hilarious sci-fi thingy only made possible by Hollywood’s big-budgeted happy-talk Fox executives) in Prometheus. That’s it.

Anyway, the parenthesis on the previous sentence is intended to, according to me, express how Moosa has a ‘really deep’ favor in Prometheus. I would just include all the 43 things he ‘learns’ from this film (sorry, Mr.Moosa, forgive me for having copy-catted your captivating piece of work, exactly the list below! Terribly sorry!). Here they are (beware spoilers!):

  1. English girls grow up to be Swedish women.
  2. Little hammers can excavate entire caves; it’s possible to date cave-paintings from a casual glance.
  3. When going on 4-year space missions, it’s silly to ask what the mission is.
  4. Having exactly the same genetics means we can still look completely different; also, chimpanzees are an anomaly. And who said anything about dinosaurs?
  5. After billions of years, there’s no point evolving or having an anatomy change. And yes, this is despite the fact that your species is shown creating life, possibly on Earth, which, according to ‘science’ started billions of years ago.
  6. Speaking of science, we learn biologists, when confronted with the corpse of an alien, run away.
  7. Aborting aliens is an everyday occurrence that is not worth mentioning to fellow crew members, none of whom have really done anything but follow your commands.
  8. After having your stomach ripped open and an alien ripped out, you can still walk, scream and run away.
  9. Black goo can turn you into one of the infected from ’28 Days Later’ or give you eye fish. Whatever.
  10. It’s possible to leave an alien planet on an alien ship to find the original aliens, with nothing but a vaguely headless android and a sense of revenge. Food and water are not necessary.
  11. People in impressive recorded videos, from four years before, know the positions, even seating-wise, of the audience members in the present.
  12. When casting for old men, it’s better to take a good-looking middle-aged actor and let a retarded bonobo loose in the make-up room with the actor tied to a chair.
  13. Sex between two extremely beautiful specimens of humanity is not worth showing, even vaguely, in a movie focused on beautiful visuals.
  14. Military trained pilots can immediately detect the entire basis for alien buildings from casual glances.
  15. Geologists who map complex cave-systems using fancy round robots, who are in constant contact with the ship, who have a live-feed hologram of the entire cave, can still get lost.
  16. When making the greatest scientific discovery in the history of our species, it’s not important to be in awe, celebrate, or show normal human emotion that would convey how enormous it is.
  17. Sprouting nonsense statements like “I choose to believe” is something a scientist from the future will say because we all know science is based solely on personal choice.
  18. After one day of investigating an alien building, because there was no friendly alien there, ready to tell you all its secrets, it is necessary to turn to alcohol.
  19. Androids will kill humans to test a vague scientific theory.
  20. It’s not necessary to tell anyone you’re pregnant with an alien baby creature monster. Indeed, it’s necessary to treat everyone as if they’re trying to harm you, despite them having given you no reason to think that and despite the possibility that they would probably want to help you.
  21. Biologists will stick their hands into cobra-snake-penis monster aliens but run away from long-dead headless alien corpses.
  22. It’s ok to take your helmet off, despite the fact that oxygen is only one aspect of what makes breathable air and doesn’t mean there aren’t alien bacteria and spores that could probably kill you (since we have no defenses having never been to this place before)
  23. It is necessary to allow your android to press as many buttons as possible on an alien artifact.
  24. It is completely fine to walk into a foreign, alien place without armed protection because … science.
  25. You shouldn’t take it personally or even care when the person funding your missions says he’s dead but then isn’t. And then he really is.
  26. People have different surnames to their daughters, despite the daughter conveying every reason to think she’s not married (get billions of light-years away from Earth, sleep with good-looking men because they ask if you’re a robot).
  27. Science has decided there isn’t that much difference between billions and millions of miles because… lightyears.
  28. Running in a straight line is the only strategy from a donut-shaped ship that is collapsing perfectly on its side.
  29. It is necessary to assert yourself as “in charge” of this ship and dictate what scientists may and may not do, despite them thinking otherwise, and then never leave the ship.
  30. You can burn a person’s lover and she won’t yell at you or show that much contempt for you.
  31. Fire destroys everything, including alien bacteria and diseases.
  32. Disparate human civilizations all pointing to a cluster of round things in the sky over hundreds of thousands of years means you can plot those objects perfectly on a “star map”: despite not knowing what those objects are (stars? planets? moons?) and knowing that despite these maps are from thousands and thousands of years ago, those objects – like the Engineers’ anatomy over billions of years – won’t be altered because… in the future, space objects don’t move.
  33. When you see weird hologram recordings of the Engineers, you don’t need to question too deeply what they’re running from (can’t be the black goo, since they run into the room with it).
  34. You don’t need to wonder why the Engineers were leaving star maps to a weapons testing facility.
  35. Learning human languages means you can read and speak alien languages perfectly, enough to make a big green-grey guy stroke your hair (before ripping your head off).
  36. It’s OK to destroy all life as long as you created it. It’s not important to wonder why they want to kill all of us and want to do so, in such an ineffective manner.
  37. You can persuade a pilot you’ve spoken to a few times to commit suicide because he’s a “soldier”. Also, it’s not necessary to inform him there might be other ships that the Engineer pilot can use anyway (to be fair, I don’t think she knew, but that’s still her ignorance that David quickly overcame).
  38. If a pathetic, tiny pink creature who is sweaty and yells at you (i.e. a human female) tries to kill you, it’s more important to kill her than simply leave in the hundreds of other ships on the planet. This is despite the fact that you could probably have gotten onto one of these ships and used a big gun on her tiny ship, which you could identify because you have eyes.
  39. Despite the ‘Alien’ franchise indicating aliens start off as small as puppies, then grow, it’s OK to show the ‘first’ alien as almost adult size despite the Engineer not being that much bigger than us and matching us 100% genetically.
  40. It’s not necessary to go back to Earth to warn your species about a possible threat and the findings of your mission; instead you should try find that threat yourself with all the power of your… revenge and a half-broken android, to “get answers”, because your previous encounters with this species indicates they’re willingness to do so.
  41. You can’t immediately go back to Earth, to stock up, supply, get an army, and then find these giant, powerful and smarter beings because… you’ll waste time. They only haven’t bothered humans for billions and billions of years but you never know! No time for restocking.
  42. How does Weyland know the Engineers would have the secret to immortality? (Real Answer: The fact that they haven’t evolved over billions of years might be an indication. But Weyland doesn’t know that they looked the same billions years ago. Only we do.)
  43. Why does Weyland think they will tell him the secret, assuming they have it?

 

Notice one more time: even one of the numbers above was not written by me. I did simply ‘quote’ what Mr.Moosa had previously penned in that Big Think article.

Everybody doesn’t have to be like Justin Bieber to be like Justin Bieber

 

It was my close friend, Carin, who had been sharing the same table with me ever since the first day we met in our new class, that she recommended this song for me. What made this cantillation so warmly mellifluous lied not only on its in-depth, jazz-as-usual music (the same thing Michael Buble would do it over and over), but also its sharp-biting messages, and particularly, Buble’s innuendo by ‘bandwagoning’ on Justin Bieber’s girl-adored styles, ranging from sitting in a sofa like a backbone-less creature, to his popular style of putting aside his dense, pony hair.

 

 

The main raison d’etre for this song was of his infuriating response on why so many human beings around Hollywood, and to a lesser extent, the whole world, are no longer ‘purely being themselves’. This is a generalization of multitudes of ’15-minute-to-fame’ cases that have been taking place in the world. It is getting a dime to a dozen that people can be easily talked-about, especially when technology becomes increasingly convenient to access. But there is one thing for sure: most of the people do only care to be famous. Talent is just another priority.

I think there are too many things that can be taken as perfect specimens of people no longer ‘being true to themselves’. Let me pick Rebecca Black as an epitome. Almost everybody knows she has a pretty face (she’s more suitable as a model), but it does not commensurate with her musical talent. The first time I listened to her Friday song, I was serious that I did not want to listen to this song for the second time. I had difficulty to comprehend why she still insisted on the studio to release this song. Now, there are three possible probabilities in my mind. First, she has not fully sharpened her musical skills.  Second, she does not have any knack in music, but she likes singing. Third, she just simply wants to be famous, no matter whether others do like it or not.Throughout her 15-minute moment, she had gained the ‘Most Popular Singer of The Best of The Worst Songs Ever Sung’ title in Youtube, with the ratio of dislikes and likes being 4 to 1. If you are so curious that you almost kill the cat, access it in Youtube.

 

It’s ‘pitiful’ that everybody knows Rebecca Black because of her ridiculed ‘it’s Friday! Friday!’ moment.

 

It’s an irony that it is becoming increasingly common that people achieve fame not based upon their natural talents; as long as your good-looking faces can guarantee your financial success (and notably, my studio’s success as well), it doesn’t matter whether people will love it or love it to hate. This is what I truly dislike. We must confess that we often judge the books by their covers, contrary to what the proverb has told us to do. In case of Hollywood, as Buble satirically described its current situation, it seems that most of the film critics do share the same sense with him. Roger Ebert once said that Hollywood does no longer have tastes in original and novel ideas, and instead have been focused too much on these 5 so-called highly efficacious words: re-makes, sequels, spin-offs, adaptations, and prequels. I feel the same sense as well. It seems that our minds have been fully overwhelmed with too many remakes of the same, old classic movies we used to watch and relish so deeply in the past. I do not say that it is an entirely and absolutely bad idea that we should recreate the same stories (some re-made movies did actually pass commercially and critically with flying colors, like Martin Scorsese’s The Departed or Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy), but won’t it be a conundrum if all the movies we watch are prioritized more in quantity than in quality? It might be an alternative if the studios attempt to make an equilibrium on the comparison of numbers of these ‘5-efficacious-word’ movies made with those entirely based on hibiscus.

 

 

But let me mention a few other examples to epitomize how this ‘quantity-over-quality’ trend is taking place beyond Hollywood. South Korean music industry is another choice. To be honest, I myself personally have no profound interest in their music. But let me make an evaluation after observing at the songs they sing, and the styles they perform. I could conclude that no matter I am uninterested, I still prefer the country’s boy-bands to girl-bands, overall, in terms of creativity. Here is how I explain the difference: it doesn’t matter whether the songs sound good in your heart or not, as long as these girl-band personnel dance and perform as attractive as ever (most of them do only count on their pulchritudinous faces to attract audiences, which is unfortunately, obtained through en masse plastic surgery), you will be famous. If I am to be shown any of their music videos, I am seriously cocksure that I am quainted more on their artificial, facial beauty than on the songs I am listening to. This is a Hudibrastic reality, that they are more focused in selling their beauty, than their simon-pure, encased, and sharpened talents.

Indonesian film industry, as I observe, is of even more sombre corporeality. I dare to bet that at least, three-quarters of the films released annually are entirely tales of messy hodge-podge between sex, porn, and excessive horror. There is nothing to see, other than creepy, exaggeratedly ugly ghosts, sex rituals, bathing scenes, semi-erotic dancing, foreign porn stars co-starring as supporting characters, and mystic efforts to remain forever greenhorn. Most of the films do rotate on the same cycle, over and over. Quality has never been their top priority; all they do only care is more audiences to watch, more money to gain, more sensation-making to push fame, and more popularity to relish. Meanwhile, the producers do only care with attractive, sexy-looking, or six-pack actors and actresses, but there is barely any knack in them in terms of acting and embodying the characters they are going to portray. Seems like I’m not the only one who feels the same sense of outrage. Almost half of the people here do.

 

Is this being too ‘Indonesian’ or too ‘Westernized’?

 

It is unavoidable that celebrities became Buble’s targets in this song. As of my opinion, few celebrities accentuate quality over quantity. The examples are highly abundant to mention. Paris Hilton achieved world-wide fame through a mecca of sex videos, multitudes of break-ups, drug possessions, and drink-driving violations. Countless parents in United States have filed complaints to Miley Cyrus because of her brazen efforts on ‘being mature enough’. People know Kim Kardashian more frequently than Kim Jong-il (but I bet he won’t attack America, because Kim Jong-un is a fond, avid supporter of Kobe Bryant) because of her reality show, which openly showcases the family’s lavish, consumerism-addicted lifestyle, and to a worse extent, some cases of privacy violations. I don’t think that celebrity life should be exploited and broadcast worldwide. Much like ours, every individual, even these celebrities, deserves the right to preserve their privacy. But, often, as we see in televisions or read in newspapers, many of the celebrities do care to crucify their dignity, only to ensure that their popularity would not shrink. This is, theoretically, not a sustainable way to preserve fame.

 

 

But, I can say that the most miserable example can be shown from the emergence of countless ‘instant talent shows’ around the whole world. For television producers, this is definitely a subtle idea to improve ratings, but for some audiences, and perhaps, half of all audiences worldwide, this is just another form of ‘exploitation by mass media’. In every talent show, in less than 6 months, dozens of contestants are eliminated through a sluggish process of deleting one every week, while all of them perspire to earn high approval by millions of pairs of eyes. In terms of who is more gifted than who, this is a highly subjective issue. We can’t compare everybody’s talents, because it differs from one individual to another. What’s more, we often do not realize that sometimes we have eliminated contestants who have actually sharpened their talents better than their own counterparts, only because of our subconscious evaluations on their outer looks. Because someone else is handsome or pretty, but he or she can not afford a good tenor, then we can ‘forgive’ them by simply supporting them through SMS. Worse, majority of the winners of the talent shows do only enjoy their nine day’s wonder. Perhaps in their first year, the eminence still belongs to them. But, entering the second year, their luck slowly begins to shrink. By the time of third year, many people have been virtually oblivious on the guys they used to support very much in the talent shows.

The message behind this song is simple yet contemplating: just be true to yourself. When you already know that this is all the talent you have, that’s all. Don’t stay too long and too often on pursuing worldly ambitions, because as Buble has once mentioned, ‘you’ll be famous ‘cause you’re dead’. Stay focused on your efforts to improve yourself, being more successful than others is another priority. Popularity is just another illusory matter, because the most important asset in our lives is just one, and it’s only one: the ability to truly understand and appreciate yourself. No one out there is going to help you, except you. What’s more, stop comparing ourselves against one another. Everybody is of their own distinct qualities, where my talent is different from yours, and others’. When we only begin to appreciate all the qualities you have in your life, that’s where the whole world starts to value us.

 

 

And now it’s time for me to paste Michael Buble’s Hollywood lyrics here. Enjoy and contemplate.

 

Could you be a teenage idol

Could you be a movie star

When l turn on my tv

Will you smile and wave at me telling Oprah who you are.

So you want to be a rock star

With blue eyed bunny’s in your bed

Well remember when you’re rich that you sold yourself for this, you’ll be famous cuz you’re dead.

 

Chorus

So don’t go higher for desire

Put it in your head

Baby Hollywood is dead you can find it in yourself.

 

I don’t want to take you dancing

When you’re dancing with the world

Well You can flash your caviar and your million dollar car

I don’t need that kind of girl

but you could be that next sensation or will you set the latest style

You don’t need a catchy song

Cuz the kids will sing along

When you shoot it with a smile

 

Chorus

So don’t go higher for desire

Put it in your head

Baby Hollywood is dead you can find it in yourself.

 

So don’t fly higher for your fire

Put it in your head

Baby Hollywood is dead you can find it in yourself.

Keep it on your head Hollywood is dead.

 

Well you can do the mighty tango

You can start your little thing

You can swing from vine to vine

While the kiddies wait in line

With the money in their hands

But if you get to California

Save a piece of gold for me

If it’s the only thing you save

Then I’ll bet you’ll never wave when I watch you on tv.

 

Chorus

So don’t go higher for desire

Put it in your head

Baby Hollywood is dead you can find it in yourself.

 

So don’t fly higher for your fire

Put it in your head

Baby Hollywood is dead you can find it in yourself.

Keep on loving what is true and the world will come to you, you can find it in yourself

 

Love what is true and the world will come to you, you can find it in yourself

No no no no no

Keep it in your head Hollywood is dead

Come come Hollywood is dead babe woo hoo

Oh Hollywood is dead yeah yeah

Keep on loving what is true and the world will come to you, you can find it in yourself

Get it in your head Hollywood is dead

Why not everyone is gonna watch Persepolis.

Marjane Satrapi is a living talent. In my lifetime, there has never been an animated film – and never a motion picture itself – as satirically biting as her beloved ‘Persepolis’. What makes it exceptional lies on her ungodly experiences she herself had tasted through the tumultuous periods of life. She is not only doing her own tale-telling; things go deeper in the entirety of the 95 minutes Persepolis offers you. Deeper in her soul, she tells a fairytale about a polity imprisoned by its own isolationist regimes.

The story began with a young woman, that is Satrapi herself, undergoing a watertight immigration check-up upon her arrival in Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Paris, 1994. She later went into a toilet, and saw one French woman viewing her – and her headscarf, a must-have item for women in today’s Iran – with full suspicion. In no time, the scene moved into Satrapi sitting in a cafe, while a cloudburst was taking place outside the airport, at the same time contemplating about her gruesome past. There, we began to see a 9-year-old Satrapi, bigotric of Bruce Lee, Che Guevara, and revolution. A 9-year-old who was full of beans on revolutionary hopes instigated by the 1979 revolt which ousted the dictatorial, heavily anti-Communist Reza Shah Pahlevi. Life became more exuberant after her uncle, Anoush, was released from the prison after having been behind bars for 9 years, due to his Communist-inspired rebellion against the regime. Little Marji was overwhelmed by hopes, dreams, and ambitions (one of which was to become a prophet) by the outcome of the revolution; societies cherished the collapse of the regime of terror, which Satrapi indirectly implied as ‘teddy-bear of the West’.

However, it took not much time to grab every smiling face from virtually every citizen of the country. As soon as the Islamic Fundamentalists, those led by similarly brutal, sadistic, and savage Ayatollah Rohullah Khomeini, led a victory landslide with an overwhelming 99.9%, Iran was back into another regime of terror, but this time, on the behalf of ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’. Women are no longer allowed to adopt Western styles of fashion outside their homes; every woman was required to wear hijab, otherwise they might be alienated by surrounding societies.

Her uncle – also her very own source of inspiration for her exuberant life, Anoush, was all in a sudden captured by the regime due to his ideology, and was subsequently executed by a firing squad. Iran was preparing for a war with Iraq, a war in which would later claim more than 1 million lives, and lasted for 8 years. Almost every single day was spent with overwhelming fear, due to the high possibility that Iraqi forces would fire missiles into their apartments, and blow their bodies apart. Millions of men and women were recruited in self-defense jihad units, in which they sacrificed their lives by crossing through the heavily landmine-infested Iran-Iraq borderline. To make things more miserable, Satrapi put a scene in which her mother was involved in a conversation with their neighbor, who had lost all her 5 sons in the war, and instead having them ‘rewarded’ with a government-made plastic key, which symbolizes ‘path to heaven for courageously expelling the kafirs’.

All the situation had its own immediate effect on Satrapi. There was much personal tumult she had to struggle. All sorts of Western art were prohibited – and are still in effect until this day. That means obtaining them would be a grueling process; even vendors of pirated DVDs on American movies would have to put their eyes all the time on to anticipate any unexpected raids that may be conducted by some kind of local sharia patrolmen. She expressed all her concerns on the loud, banging, explosive sounds of heavy metal bands, notably Iron Maiden (her lifetime idol), listened vividly to Michael Jackson’s songs (often mis-spelt in Iran as Jichael Mackson), and wore a denim jacket with signs written out ‘punk is not ded’.

Her personal struggle escalated after she was moved to Vienna, Austria, in 1983. She lived in a rented house under the strict supervision of Catholic nuns, but in her schooling life, she befriended a group of punk, anarchy-minded Bohemians, and frequently attended underground, death-metal concerts. She fell in love with one of them, but the relationship ended off in no time after the man declared openly he ‘is a gay, and is proud of it’. Having fallen headfirst into desperation, her relationship with the Catholic nuns deteriorated, and she was expelled after a rabble-rousery fracas, which ended up by snapping at the nuns as ‘prostitutes’. Most of her time in Vienna was spent bohemianly, where she had to move from her friend’s house to her friend’s house, again into her friend’s friend’s house, again into her friend’s friend’s house, and even had to stay 4 all-gay couples for some time, before she found a brief period of tranquility staying in a philosopher’s house. She fell in love with a freelance playwright, but she even fell headlong, deeper into the valley of stygian desperation, after finding out her lover was having sex with another woman.

Her life became unstable since then; she often had falling-outs with the philosopher, and ended up expelled. For months, she had to wander around the streets of Vienna as a beggar, having survived day to day from the food remainings she found in landfills. In a deep night, she fell into comatose. Someone out there had taken her to hospital. Unable to cope with the emotional pressure she had been facing for months, she decided to return back to her homeland.

Back in Iran, Satrapi again regained her gusto after she dreamt she met God – and Karl Marx, her longtime idol. She enrolled back into academic life, amidst increasing fear about more possible repressions coming up in the future, since the death of Ayatollah Rohullah Khomeini. She openly spoke up about the hypocrisies and all the religious absurdities in symposiums, fell in love with a local man, married her afterwards, and divorced him 4 years later, before she moved to Paris, and lives there until now.

—–

To be honest, Persepolis is many times ‘crunchier’ than any animated films I have ever seen. If there were a measurement unit to calculate how deep these films are from 0 to 10, I would rate most of Dreamworks-produced films on average 5, most of Pixar-produced films on average 7.5, and Persepolis on 10. I don’t say that all Dreamworks- and Pixar-made films are bad, but Persepolis has its own path to interpret about the absurdities of the world in a simplified manner that, if you listen deeply on their dialogues, you will slowly feel it. But not everyone will do it. Only those who are already well-prepared to witness the personal tumults of Satrapi as a woman, and as part of Iranian nation, are permitted to watch Persepolis.

But perhaps the most important theme it wants to emphasize is about the essence of human freedom. Satrapi was once born in a country ruled by dictatorial regime, and once had to overcome all the challenges imposed by another, religion-based regime who continues to rule Iran iron-handedly until this second. Once she was set free, she had made one mistake, and had learnt it: the metaphorical wired fences of harsh rules had ‘forced’ her to dream and seek her very own utopia, a realm of absolute freedom. But the world out there never permits, and is always absurd. Only the resilience and fortitude of hearts of man in seeking human freedom itself that will set themselves free, not the elusive, imaginary pledges of utopia. That had ruined her life once. And she realized she must not make another mistake like that anymore.

This is a film to commemmorate everyone who dreams of being ‘set free’.