18 December 2005


I've been catching up on a number of great new graphic novels lately, including Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. It's the story of the artists' life from the age of 6 until about 10, when she lived through the overthrow of the Shah in Iran. The author comes from an educated family that had connections to the pre-Pahlavi regime, and it turns out the suffering in her family started well before the events in the book.

Sufficiently dramatic events -- and the revolution is clearly such -- help pull the reader through any book, but what makes Persepolis so compelling is the consistently child-centric point of view. The parent's reactions to the events are quite divorced from the reactions of the six-year-old Marji's; and, the multiple moments where events force the family to educate this child in a hurry as why tragedies are befalling them dazzle you with the impact they must have had.

Two other things I took away from the book where the Iranian people's perception of Arabs as "invaders from the West" (not something that gets a lot of play here) and the phrase, "...which they subsequently called an Islamic revolution" as Marji's intelligentsia-connected family watches the expected Marxist-proleteriat form of the revolution morph into something much more sinister.

Highly recommended.

11 December 2005

ii eiga da naa? (Samurai Rebellion)

I finally caved in and ordered the Criterion Collection box set "Rebel Samurai -- Sixties Swordplay classics" from amazon. I think of it as, "branching out after you've watched all of Kurosawa's films." Tonight I sat down for the first film in the set, "Samurai Rebellion" by Masaki Kobayashi. It's allegedley the most traditional of the four, as befits the director of Kwaidan -- it was his first independent film after leaving the studio system -- and it wears the Kurosawa mantle of heavyweight samurai drama well. After this, I can't wait to watch the rest of the set!

10 December 2005

SF's best pizza

After jonesing for Zachary's a lot, a friend told me about Little Star Pizza (http://www.littlestarpizza.com). It immediately replaced Zach's as the Bay Area's best. If you eat in, you'll also be sitting in the world's hippest pizza joint -- both the restaurant and the clientele look like you should be eating asian fusion food rather than yummy deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. The Classic or the Little Star are my faves...