Persepolis

  • Directors: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Screenplay, Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud, Comic Book, Marjane Satrapi
  • Genres: Animation, Biography, Drama, War
  • Actors: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian

The film begins in an airport where Marjane Satrapi is unable to board a plane to Iran. Sitting and smoking a cigarette, she remembers her life as a girl in 1979 with Marji at the age of 10, a young girl with dreams of being a prophet and an emulator of Bruce Lee. (The film is black and white during her memories). At this time, the general uprising against the US backed Shah of Iran begins and her middle class family participates with high hopes for a more just society. Meanwhile, Marji attempts to participate in her age’s point of view whether it is threatening the child of an unpopular government official, or competing for the greater childish prestige of having a relative who has been a political prisoner the longest time such as her communist Uncle Anouche.

Unfortunately, the hopes of the family are profoundly disappointed when Islamic Fundamentalists win the ensuing elections and force Iranian society into its own kind of repressive state, which ranges from forcing women to dress modestly including the Hijab, to rearresting and executing Anouche for his political beliefs. Profoundly disillusioned, Marji rejects her prophetic aspirations and tries with her family to fit into the reality of the intolerant regime. Even as both the horrors of the Iran-Iraq war and blatant injustices occur such as an unqualified government appointed hospital administrator refusing to help a critically ill relative go abroad for medical treatment and thus precipitating his death, the family tries to find some solace in secret parties where they can enjoy simple pleasures the government has outlawed, such as alcohol. However as she grows up, Marji refuses to stay out of trouble, secretly buying Western heavy metal music on the black market, wearing unorthodox clothing such a denim jacket celebrating punk rock with a Michael Jackson button, or openly rebutting a teacher’s lies about the abuses of the government.

Back to present day, Marji once again is unable to return to Iran, and she takes a taxi from the airport. When the driver asks where she is from, she sighs, “Iran”. Her final memory is of her grandmother telling her how she put jasmine in her brassiere to allow her to smell fresh every day.

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