Sunday, September 14, 2008

One heartbeat away

Finally watched Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's film Persepolis tonight. I think it was up against Ratatouille for the Best Animated Film Oscar and of course Disney prevailed. A shame, because Persepolis is much more complex than the vastly overrated rodent movie.

Watching it tonight, a scene struck a particular chord because of the current context. The movie is set mostly in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, and it shows, among other things, what happens when ideologues and opportunists band together to rule a country, especially when they use religion as an excuse/tool to enforce their rule. At one point, a woman panicks because her husband had a heart attack and she needs the authorization to get him out of the country so he can get an operation. To her horror, she realizes the hospital administrator in charge of delivering the authorization used to wash her windows. He has zero qualifications and yet there he is, lording it over others.

Sounds familiar? The US has turned into a country where zealots and opportunists band together to pillage natural resources and rob people blind (there's no other word to describe what health-insurance and oil companies do). Incompetent people rise to positions of power, carried on by the passivity and ignorance of the population. Sarah Palin is only the latest in a long line of such people: She doesn't have the qualifications to be vice-president and yet she acts with a sense of utmost certainty. She's very very close to being in charge. We should be terrified.


David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Persepolis is a wonderful film!

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

Indeed! I cannot emphasize how great it is—and darkly funny too.