Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Review - Persepolis (2007 - Dir. Marjane Satrapi/Vincent Paronnaud)

Persepolis is an animated interpretation of the autobiographical graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi detailing her life growing up in Tehran around the time of the Iranian Revolution. The film is an intensely personal analysis of Satrapi's early life experiences, relationships and family history and is at times genuinely moving, frightening and funny.

The story is told in a simple and straightforward narrative that reflects the style of the graphic novel perfectly and allows us to fully empathise with Satrapi's emotional responses to the situations she finds herself in. The whole story is intensely political on a variety of levels but is made more real and relevant as we view the world through the eyes of Satrapi initially as a young girl growing into a young woman. Although set in Iran, the film uses the lack of colour and generic cityscape backgrounds to illustrate how easily this situation could happen in any country.

If the story is the central feature of the film, the simple but beautiful animation comes a close second. It's a minimalist approach that really works in conveying the atmosphere of fear in an everyday community with the odd splash of colour jolting us back into the present. The silhouetted scenes of the Revolution and state police are particularly striking and scary, with the dreamy suicide scenes equally moving and unnerving.

A great film with a unique perspective, thought provoking messages and stunning artwork.

If you like this you could also try:
Belleville Rendez-Vous, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Lives of Others.


  1. I read the graphic novel, was a good read, I liked how it had funny moments, and was critical of Iran as well.
    I agree the filmmakers captured the style of the pages, but I felt the film was too fast-paced, as if they wanted to cram a lot into a short running time, so I had to keep my eyes peeled!! I guess you didn't have that problem since you gave it a 9/10 ( :

  2. I'm actually very bored with this film. Maybe because I had read the novel before I watched the film...

    1. Are there any films that are better than the books? The Notebook is one. Any more?