"I remember I led a peaceful, uneventful life as a little girl. I loved fries with ketchup, Bruce Lee was my hero, I wore Adidas sneakers and had two obsessions: Shaving my legs one day and being the last prophet of the galaxy."
The French-language graphic novel series of the same name has also been adapted to film. Persepolis made its debut in 2007 at the Cannes Film Festival, winning Jury Prize - the first animated film to earn distinction at Cannes since René Laloux's The Fantastic Planet in 1973. Persepolis also garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2008, among other distinctions.
Perhaps owing to original author-artist Marjane Satrapi's heavy involvement, the film is a loyal translation of the novels: we experience Marji's coming of age amidst the Iranian Revolution almost entirely in stark black and white flashback, with contrasting transitions in a dully colored "present-day" airport.
Counter to the trend of recent popular animated films, Persepolis retains and embraces Satrapi's bold and simple art style; the charming (and where appropriate, proper cartoony) animation sparks life into the inherent expressiveness and personality of her linework, and builds on her striking use of light and shadow to powerful narrative and cinematic effect. Fresh realizations of the source material are everywhere - look for the Iranian history lessons visualized in puppet theatre, featuring English colonels with a questionable grasp of French.
Despite sweepingly positive reviews worldwide, Persepolis was banned soon after its release in Iran and Lebanon - for "(presenting) an unrealistic face of the achievements and results of the glorious Islamic Revolution" and "(being) offensive to Iran and Islam", respectively. While the ban was later revoked entirely in Lebanon, Iranian cultural authorities only came to allow limited screenings in Tehran, with half a dozen scenes removed due to sexual content. (Interestingly enough, some Iranians had already managed to see the film at home on bootlegged DVDs, which - while strictly forbidden - are discreetly available from various sources for around two dollars.)*
*Information on controversy sourced from:
(Rare Iran screening for controversial film 'Persepolis')
(LEBANON: Iran revolution film 'Persepolis' unbanned)