Persepolis (2007 – Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud)


Persepolis is a 2007 French animated film which is based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel. This animated film was written and directed by Marjane Satrapi as well as Vincent Paronnaud. The title is in reference to the historic city of Persepolis. Marjane Satrapi wanted to change the negative stereotypes that are associated with Iran and its people, terrorism and fundamentalism.

Persepolis is a story about a  presosious and outspoken young Iranian girl as she comes of age against the Iranian Revolution (Islamic Revolution) and the story ends with Marjane as a 24 year old expatriate.

Persepolis is shown to the audience through the use of black and white pictures. The graphic narrative lacks a variety of colours and thus, this brings forth the irony bit of the film. An example would be, Marji, a follower of Marx and Engels, had doubts on the ownership of the material items, as well as the problem with the hierachies in the country itself.

This film was a co-winner of the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. It was nominated as the Best Animated Feature in the 80th Academy Awards, also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in the 65th Golden Globe Awards. As well as, Persepolis won the Southerland Trophy (Grand prize for the festival) in the 2007 London Film Festival.

Persepolis is a hand drawn work of animation, developed and drawn by Satrapi herself. The film, being in black and white also adds to the precision and difficulty, requiring a large amount of discipline because a single mistake such as a pupil not drawn perfectly, would appear distinctively on the screen. In total, the film required about 80000 drawings for around 130,000 images. 


This shows how much freedom Marji received after flying off from Iran. The exposure to rock bands as well as social gatherings has made an impact to Marji as she sees the what the real world is all about. She is freed from the fear she once had during the revolution in Iran.


The way Marji or any other Iranian child is treated when he or she starts to show signs of exposure to the world, is absolutely unfair. As seen in the film, the two adults/ teachers are angry – when they shook her, also when they saw that Marji wore a jacket which states “Punk is not Dead” and a badge at the front which states “Micheal Jackson”. The teachers even asked, “Micheal Jackson?” this shows the little knowledge and exposure to the world and music as a whole.


At a certain point in the film, Marji was at the airport with her parents and her father reminded her to not forget who she was and never to forget where she was from. This touched my heart as it is seen that no matter where you are at, you can never forget your roots and the hard life you once had before. It shows how much Marji’s parents wanted her to stay true to herself and not forget herself and her family when she’s abroad.

Persepolis is a film which is as said by critics, “Stunning. Should win the oscar for Best Animated Film” – Ain’t it cool news, “ An unqualified Triumph!” –  Stephen Holden, The New York Times, “Emotionally Overwhelming.” – James Rocchi, Cinematical.com and “Dark and Compelling and Beautiful, truly One of a Kind.” – David Poland, Movie City News.

After watching this film, it got me to think on how lucky I am to be here, in Singapore. The freedom that we got and the exposure that we get, have actually taught a lot about life and it’s perks. Persepolis has also shown many different sides to a certain country, for example in Iran, especially during the Revolution times. It also touched my heart at the scene where Marji’s parents sent her to the airport, in order to “save” her from the difficult life in Iran during the Revolution. The line that is attached to me till now is when her father reminded her to remember who she was and where she was from. It taught me a lesson to always stick to your roots and no matter where you are, you will always be born at a certain place and you were once like that, an example would be Marji is an Iranian and has suffered through the Revolution during those times.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud is a must watch film. An interesting film which takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride.

About the Author: Syara Shah loves doing sports, dance and starts her creative juices going once she’s in her zone. She aspires to be a director/ an entrepreneur.


  1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – annedoherty on May 29, 2009. Retrieved from EssayForum on June 20, 2013.                                         (http://www.essayforum.com/writing-feedback-3/critical-essay-persepolis-6722/)
  2. Persepolis Trailer – SonyPicturesClassics on November 20, 2007.                            Retrieved from YouTube on June 20, 2013.                            (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PXHeKuBzPY)

One thought on “Persepolis (2007 – Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud)

  1. Hi Syara

    One key point I found amazing about this film is that it’s a hand drawn work of animation. I have added in a part about it in the write up. Maybe you can continue elaborating about how the film required about 8000 drawings for around 130,000 images.

    Additionally, I think that you should probably emphasis or mention the fact that Persepolis is a reflection of Satrapi’s love for her family and through the film, she’s trying to address the meaning of exile.

    Read more here! http://www.payvand.com/news/07/dec/1296.html


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