Directed By: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Release Year: 2007
Length: 1 hour 36 minutes
Based on Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel of the same title, Persepolis is a story based on Marjane Satrapi’s life as a young Iranian girl who experiences the Iranian Revolution while growing up in 1970s-1980s Tehran. The story follows her through life, changes, relationships, love, inner struggles and wisdom in Iran and Austria, leaving audiences laughing, crying and enjoying the wit and wisdom of the character.
Having read the graphic novel, I thought the movie managed to incorporate just as much drama and humour that Marjane Satrapi’s writing has. Of course, the book has more details and scenes, as well as an element of unspoken wit, which made it more interesting for me. But the movie was all the more enjoyable because it covers main parts of the story with much more emphasis on politics than the book. In the book, we get to read more of Marjane growing up but the movie includes that and the politics vividly and more often than the book.
However, I would not choose the movie over the book because the movie was fast-paced and the characters had American accents, which is a guilty pleasure; had the characters talked in Persian accents, it would have been difficult to understand but hearing them talk in American accents felt like watching a Hollywood movie and not by an Iranian French graphic novelist. American dialects are probably the most popular and familiar one in pop culture, which was why I could understand what the characters said but I think it would have been better if the characters besides young Marji would’ve spoken English the way Persians do. I recommend reading Persepolis first and then watching the movie because that way, you can enjoy your own understanding of the Iranian culture and then go watch Persepolis as it is: a movie almost made in the West, for the West.
For me, the movie was better than expected, with its humour on point and its execution done well. But I would like to see people read Persepolis before watching the movie.