Friday, March 29, 2013

Animation Week - Persepolis (2007)

No Batman this time, but Persepolis is another movie based on a comic book. It might seem like a weird follow up but this is oddly appropriate for me since Batman: Year One and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi were two of the first comics or graphic novels I ever read and both made me appreciate the form. I didn't read these until I was near the end of high school and already thought of comics as either kids stuff or only featuring super heroes. Both surprised me and opened me up to a lot of stuff I would not have read otherwise. Getting back to the film, Persepolis is a coming of age story based on the real life experiences of author and artist Marjane Satrapi growing up in Iran in the 1970s and early 80s. As Marjane or "Marji" gets older she clashes with the ideals of the Islamic Fundamentalists in power. This eventually leads her to leave her country to study in Vienna before returning to her home years later. The movie is a French language film and I watched it with subtitles. I kinda want to see the dubbed version sometime though because the English language cast includes Sean Penn and Iggy Pop!

The comic Persepolis is made up of two separate books, while the movie covers the story of both. I've actually only read the first book, which ends with Marjane leaving Iran for college. Persepolis is a pretty accurate adaptation despite being condensed since it has to cover the material of two books. I can understand why this choice was made but still think it would've made more sense to make one movie for each book. The animation looks pretty much just like the comic. Even though some parts of the story were cut it did feel like I was paging through the comic again. I still need to read Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return but so I can't say how close on an adaptation that part of the movie is. But if it is like the first half then it is pretty close but just leaves out some less important parts of time. Persepolis was nominated for Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film in 2007 but lost to Ratatouille. I recommend both the book and the movie. If you've read the book you'll appreciate the film as a good adaptation and if you've seen the movie but want a longer version of the story then check out the comics.

Next up: Animation week concludes with a film that is not based on a comic or an adaptation.


  1. This was a challenging film for a couple of reasons. But the biggest one was that it didn't really have a traditional conclusion. It doesn't have any big answers or realizations at the end. And I respect that.

  2. Good point. I still need to read The Return comic so I'm curious if the book and movie have any differences with the conclusion.

  3. This is one I've been meaning to get around to for a very long time. At least now I have a better idea of what it's about.

  4. Let me know what you think when you get around to watching or reading it!