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Starring: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Derreuix

Directed by: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud

Produced by: Marc-Antoine Robert, Xavier Rigault

Written by: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

     Persepolis was almost certainly picked up by distributor Sony Pictures Classics based on their success in American markets with 2003’s The Triplets of Belleville, another French animated feature. But whereas that Sylvain Chomet picture was a constant visual and auditory wonder, this one is often destroyed by its bland delivery. Sure, there’s a lot of energy to be found in Persepolis, but the film feels senseless once one realizes that there isn’t much to it. Aesthetically, it is interesting for all of fifteen minutes, but only because it dares to use traditional 2-D animation and a primarily black-and-white color palette. The same thing can be said of the narrative, which only carries its characters so far. The film tells an intimate version of contemporary Iranian history, with young protagonist Marjane Satrapi (named after and based off of one of the film’s two writer/directors) experiencing the after-effects of the fall of the Shah, the brutality of the Iran/Iraq War, and eventually her own identity-crisis when she is sent by her family to study in Austria. As a character, Marjane isn’t especially interesting, despite her livid perkiness. Furthermore: as a history-lesson, Persepolis will only enlighten those completely unfamiliar with Iranian Conflicts of the past fifty years. Sure, the film has its undeniable charms: its constant tonal jubilance, as provoked by Marjane’s youthfulness, is particularly striking when juxtaposed against the bleak history that the story chronicles. On the whole, however, there isn’t anything extraordinary about Persepolis. It is often intriguing—sometimes even exciting—but never remarkable.


-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 1.2.2008

Screened on: 12.30.2007 at The Landmark in West Los Angeles, CA.


Persepolis is rated PG-13 and runs 95 minutes.

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