Satrapi is a strong-headed lady who grew up in a progressive Iranian family. Her family was involved with the communist and socialist movements in Iran, prior to the Islamic Iranian Revolution. She witnessed, as a child, the growing oppression of civil liberties and the everyday-life consequences of Iranian politics, including the fall of the Shah, the early regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the first years of the Iran-Iraq war.
Satrapi was sent to Vienna by her parents when she was a teen, and grew up there before returning to Iran in her adulthood.
PERSEPOLIS trails Satrapi’s life story from when she was a rebellious anti-establishment little girl in Iran to her transformation to an angry and lost teenager in Vienna, torn between her traditional Muslim beliefs and city values, and finally, to the strong, matured modern woman she is today who can reconcile both her traditional and modern values.
Put simply, it’s a coming-of-age story of an girl who lived through the major milestones of Iranian history.
Here’s the movie trailer to get a better picture of what PERSEPOLIS is about:
What I really like was the clean, black and white drawings together with the matter-of-fact, straightforward narrative. There’s no excessive dramatisation of the war and neither did Satrapi seek to portray herself as a vulnerable victim like most war autobiographies tend to lean towards.
For those who can spare the time reading, I highly recommend the graphic novel rather than the movie. The movie though enjoyable, had to sacrifice some depth and details in order to condense a whole life story into a 95 minutes animation.