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  • Alternative view 1 of Persepolis
  • Alternative view 2 of Persepolis


4.8 6
Director: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve


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Filmmakers Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi collaborated to co-write and co-direct this adaptation of Satrapi's bestselling autobiographical graphic novel detailing the trials faced by an outspoken Iranian girl who finds her unique attitude and outlook on life repeatedly challenged during the Islamic revolution. The


Filmmakers Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi collaborated to co-write and co-direct this adaptation of Satrapi's bestselling autobiographical graphic novel detailing the trials faced by an outspoken Iranian girl who finds her unique attitude and outlook on life repeatedly challenged during the Islamic revolution. The English-language version features the voice talents of Sean Penn, Gena Rowlands, and Iggy Pop, with Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni reprising their roles from the original French-language version.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Over the course of the 20th century, the thematic scope offered by mainstream animated features in the U.S. remained sorely restricted. Few will debate the historical importance or artistic merit of Walt Disney's contributions to the animated form, but consider also the strict limitations ushered in by his creations, such as Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, and more so by the creations of Disney's successors, such as Walter Lantz and Don Bluth. On a cultural level, these artists inadvertently tied pop-culture animation to family entertainment and only family entertainment, thus dramatically forcing viewer expectations into a set mold. The conventions are not unbreakable, but they are strong. Even a film such as Ratatouille, as brilliant and as profound as it is, never really leaves the sphere of family-friendly -- for better or worse. As sex- and violence-filled Japanese anime continues to demonstrate, however, the remainder of the world cannot make the same claim about their indigenous animated features. Consequently, the first dramatic strides in this area originated not in domestic but in overseas efforts. One shining example, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis -- adapted from Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel -- pushed the envelope further than it had ever gone in prior domestically released theatrical films. Don't let the scenes of a young, animated Satrapi (which frequently verge on the adorable) mislead you; this is, at heart, an impenetrably bleak, heavy, and difficult film about a young Persian girl's coming of age in the period surrounding the rise of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini -- a film that grapples with themes completely unascertainable by young audiences. As a result, one cannot possibly overestimate the film's historical and cultural vitality. It marks the first animated feature to meditate on the psycho-social impacts of extremist political and religious oppression, the Middle Eastern fascination with Western culture (and need for sexual liberation, evident in part via the Iranian characters' surprisingly explicit dialogues), and the concept of ethnic and cultural identity as both a reassuring source of self-identification and an immense, emotionally crippling burden. On that note, Satrapi and Paronnaud's decision to cloak nearly 80 percent of the film in black and white constitutes a masterstroke; we never once feel depressed by the film, but it does feel aesthetically and stylistically oppressive -- as oppressive as any film in memory, in fact. The black and white functions as a nearly constant reminder of the difficulty of Satrapi's coming-of-age experiences, engendered in part by the confusing nature of the tumultuous events whirling around her and by an unbearable period in Iranian history. How telling that even when the adolescent Satrapi leaves Iran to experience life in and around Vienna (aside from the prologue and epilogue), scenes never take on color. Everything is filtered through her eyes, and we remain a prisoner of her perspective -- just as she, in turn, is inextricably tied her history, culture, and background. To put it another way: the filmmakers have conjured up a nearly perfect visual metaphor for the permanence of sociocultural identity. Perhaps realizing the dangers inherent in the story (material this daring and challenging could easily risk becoming unwatchable, if created with an inept or insensitive hand), Satrapi and Paronnaud wisely attempted to leaven the story on two separate planes. First, they cloak the film in brilliant visual invention that veers on the indescribable -- animation of shadows, overlays of semi-transparent, chalk-like animated images, and a host of other aesthetic innovations that find their origins in unusual and obscure sources. The filmmakers also interweave liberal doses of humor throughout the narrative. This is where the motion picture begins to falter very slightly; in terms of drollness, it really only soars when it uses jocularity as a thematic comment on young Marjane's attempt (and the attempts of all Iranians) to deal psychologically with the ramifications of losing freedom of expression. In what are arguably the picture's finest, most amusing and courageous moments, for example, the young Satrapi attends art classes, where she and other pupils study Botticelli's Birth of Venus with the breasts and pubic areas obscured, then attempt to sketch the female form with the model obscured and turned into a formless, shapeless, inhuman enigma via an Islamic cloak and veil. Less successful and interesting are the frequent nods to Western culture that provide easy laughs, such as an inclusion of a montage set to the Rocky III theme, "Eye of the Tiger," and a couple of nods to Bruce Lee. While these beats are admittedly entertaining (and do help the filmmakers meditate on the aforementioned theme of Iranian fascination with Western mass culture), they do little to depict humor as a coping mechanism amid the oppression of the environment that we are handed. This is a minor quibble, however, and anyone with a serious interest in the art of filmmaking (able to free themselves from the notion that animated films must always be light, fun, and easy to swallow) will invariably feel mesmerized by the work. Collaborating with Paronnaud and an enormous team of animators, Satrapi has taken a full personal history, with all of the twists, turns, blind corners, and contradictions that life handed her, and has ingeniously reinvented it structurally and formally, while projecting remarkable levels of self-reflexive and sociological insight.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[B&W, Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

English Language version of the film featuring the voices of Chiara Mastroianni, Sean Penn, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands and Iggy Pop; "The Hidden Side of Persepolis" - Featurette on the making of the French version; "Behind the Scenes of Persepolis" - The Recording of the English version; Audio Commentary by Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud & Chiara Mastoianni on Select Scenes; Animated Scene Comparisons with Commentary by Marjane Satrapi; 2007 Cannes Film Festival Press Conference Q & A with Cast and Crew

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Chiara Mastroianni Marjane as a Teenager & Adult (French & English Version)
Catherine Deneuve Tadji (French and English Version)
Gena Rowlands (English Version)
Sean Penn Ebi (English Version)
Iggy Pop Uncle Anouche (English Version)
Simon Abkarian Ebi (French Version)
Danielle Darrieux Marjane's Grandmother (French and English Version)
Gabrielle Lopes Marjane (Child) (French Version)
Francois Jerosme Uncle Anouche (French Version)

Technical Credits
Vincent Paronnaud Director,Screenwriter
Marjane Satrapi Director,Screenwriter
Pumpkin 3D Animator
Olivier Bernet Score Composer
Pascal Cheve Animator
Je Suis Bien Content Animator
Marc Jousset Animator,Art Director
Kathleen Kennedy Associate Producer,Executive Producer
Thierry Lebon Sound/Sound Designer
Marisa Musy Production Designer
Xavier Rigault Producer
Marc-Antoine Robert Producer
Stephane Roche Editor
Louis Viali Animator
Denis Walgenwitz Asst. Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Persepolis
1. Chapter 1 [1:35]
2. Chapter 2 [2:52]
3. Chapter 3 [:12]
4. Chapter 4 [3:31]
5. Chapter 5 [3:39]
6. Chapter 6 [1:21]
7. Chapter 7 [4:44]
8. Chapter 8 [3:39]
9. Chapter 9 [2:06]
10. Chapter 10 [3:56]
11. Chapter 11 [3:38]
12. Chapter 12 [2:40]
13. Chapter 13 [4:04]
14. Chapter 14 [3:18]
15. Chapter 15 [2:07]
16. Chapter 16 [:42]
17. Chapter 17 [1:22]
18. Chapter 18 [2:21]
19. Chapter 19 [3:33]
20. Chapter 20 [3:15]
21. Chapter 21 [3:07]
22. Chapter 22 [3:49]
23. Chapter 23 [3:58]
24. Chapter 24 [2:25]
25. Chapter 25 [2:58]
26. Chapter 26 [1:25]
27. Chapter 27 [1:03]
28. Chapter 28 [:42]


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Persepolis 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
The_Beastlord_Slavedragon More than 1 year ago
Persepolis deals with Iran before and after the Shaw and the decline and fall of an intellectual giant of a culture into a post factist and minimalist regime of repression at the marketplace of ideas. This anime is the story of a family and it's travels, it's rebels, authours, and political dissesdents. It was a great film. I watched it twice. Excellent animation of the higest quality. The Beastlord Slavedragon
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