Monday, July 20, 2009

Two Exiles

Books and movies based on first person accounts of war or revolution are almost always extremely visceral. Recently, I read Kien Nyugen's The Unwanted and watched Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis - two very different countries, cultures and wars but similar in atleast in their denouement - the protagonists get a lease of life outside their own country.

Reading Nyugen's book is like going over a raw wound with a bunch of salt - the horrors of war as well that his personal ordeals given a highly dysfunctional family are gut-wrenching to say the least. As a reader you long to see the rainbow at the end of the tunnel - for redemption, for all wrongs to be made right. Even if it takes exile to do so, it is the far better than any other alternative.

And so is the case with Persepolis. The movie takes a monochromatic, two-dimensional view of a life of a family in Iran by presenting the story as an animation. The reduction of individual choice and civil liberties to a set of black and white diktats could not have been better rendered. Satrapi's life is full of uncertaintlty, fear, confusion and hardship. Rent by revolution and war, the homeland no longer feels safe and secure as "homes" necessarily must.

There is a sense of time's arrow moving backward instead of forward when you consider the freedoms enjoyed by older generations to the more modern regime of constant policing of the citizenry.She drifts back and forth between seeking her place in the world outside Iran and accepting what Iran has become - and she finally leaves never to return. Nyugen does the same as well.

1 comment:

Hemanth said...

Wonderfully written.

I admire the way you diligently update your blog everyday. It's a fantastic read. Keep chiming.