Power of Shading

It can often be hard to turn a book into a movie. The reader usually feels that the director has done the author some injustice by not including every little detail from the book or by adding things of their own. In the case of Persepolis, because it began as a comic book and already came with visual materials of it’s own the creator of the movie had the interesting job of bringing such images to life. Although the director did keep the general look and feel of the pictures the same, one of the interesting differences is the use of shading in the background. In the movie the background is often shaded in a way that adds a gradient of light, unlike the strictly black and white shapes used in the book. This difference allows for a range of light to be used to portray different emotions. Generally light was used to portray happiness and darker surroundings were used to portray a sadder or madder emotion. This use of light wasn’t limited to exactly such uses but when it did stray it was for a specific purpose such as having a specific character be lighter and this the background was required to be dark. It also allows for a more three dimensional look to take place as buildings fade into the background, and when things are moved closer they can have more light upon them. Although subtle this difference plays an important role in distinguishing the film from the book and adds to the power of the movie. This is not to say that the movie was more powerful. If anything the standing images were more moving, but the shading did help the movie to win over more support in that field. Shading was important and should not be overlooked. 

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4 thoughts on “Power of Shading

  1. Josh, great post! I agree that the shades of gray provide a stark contrast to the comic book. The occasional appearance of gray allows the audience to find solace in scenes where Satrapi attempts to lighten up the mood. In a way, the shades of gray appear to be impartial to the black and white dominance. I’m glad we were able to watch the movie, because e were able to associate characters with sound and tone, as well as interpret the story in another light with the addition of gray shading.

  2. Nailed it! I definitely agree how it’s hard to tie in all the elements from a book into a movie. We have hours to read a book, but only 2 hours at most to watch a film? Funny how directors do that. It signifies the importance of a book, we can spend hours sometimes days reading a book but our attention won’t stay on a film that exceeds a 2hour limit. Shows how strong a book can keep us hooked! The shading done in this novel were on point. We were able to see when moments were dramatic with the use of a dark background and when moments we’re joyous with a simple white background. The movie had a lot more details and elements then in the book but the amount of story in the film lacked greatly in comparison to the movie. I mean, we skipped so many sections in the movie for what? Just so it could be about 20 minutes shorter?! Somewhat frustrating. The still images in the movie had more emotion to me than the actual moving pictures. When that explosion occurred and she saw her neighbor’s bracelet still attached to her arm, and Marjane’s face was as still image showed such great emotion. The music elements that tied in with the movie had strong points as well. The movie did have great elements and details in certain aspects, and everything it lacked the book had. Time to re make the movie and combine both, don’t you think?

  3. I love your detail for the small things. To notice just how much the shading does for a comic or even a movie is hard for some people. But I would have to disagree about how the movie portrays the lighting. Some of it is spot on while other parts of the movie it is like they forgot about it so them they bring it back. In the book the shades are what set the mood with out them you would be lost. The story of Marjane Satrapi in Persepolis is enlightening and with out the contrast of shade in the book her story would not be as powerful and moving. With the movie the shade helped but what set the mood was the voices and the background noise.

  4. This is a really good blog! I never actually thought about the shading being such an important element till I read this. It also bothered me how a few things like the mood was different from the book to the movie. Even Marjane seem happier in the movie than how she was proteyed in the book. It tends to be that way always: that books leave us an a great impression that we expect something equal or more when we watch the film. But then again like you stated, the film stayed with the same idea and that’s what matters. Static images are a much greater impact than what we normally think. That’s where we perhaps get ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ a cliché I guess but proves us wrong everyday. Satrapi did a great job in transmitting that sad some what melancholic mood unlike the film. Good job Josh!

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