Persepolis is a small landmark in feature animation.

  • 19 May 2011
  • Screenings & Film Festivals

Hey all you cinephiles. This is the last of Cinema Thursday's third season (although, we'll be launching a new season next month), so come along and enjoy a great film on grass.

Bring comfy things to sit on, and a picnic. The bar won't be open. If it rains, we have screening space in the gallery cafe.

Thanks to all the hard core fans who stuck with it during some of this season's darker films. I promise to lighten up the mood as we move into next season.

This is the 2nd in our Girlhood in the Middle East theme. And should be a real treat.


Entering the realm of womanhood is a complex, difficult and deeply personal experience for adolescent girls universally, if diversely. While the experience is deeply private, leaving girlhood carries with it the weight of entering into the adult world of the social order and social roles which are simultaneously very public. In regions such as Iran and Afghanistan, where our two films in this theme are located, the bodies of women are defined and limited in ways that are different to those we experience in a more westernised space that has a history of emancipatory feminist politics. These two films unravel, in quite different ways, the intimacies of blossoming femininity against a backdrop of the Middle East.



Persepolis (2007), Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi, 96 mins, Iran/France

Persepolis is a small landmark in feature animation. Not because of technical innovation-- though it moves fluidly enough, and its drawings have a handcrafted charm forgotten in the era of the cross-promoted-to-saturation CGI-'toon juggernauts - but because it translates a sensitive, introspective, true-to-life, "adult" comic story into moving pictures. Graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi has led a fascinating life, which she tells in an original fashion in Persepolis. This animated feature shows the young Marjane growing up in a communist family in Tehran, becoming politicised and rebelling at college in Austria. The predominantly black-and-white animation is used to amusing effect as Satrapi gently pokes fun at her youthful exuberance and innocence, making serious political points easy to swallow.

Despite dealing with adult themes such as interrogation, imprisonment, drugs and sexual awakenings, there's a delightfully childlike element to Persepolis. Initially, much of the action is seen through the bright but naive eyes of the young Marjane, a playful, feisty child who's quick to judge - a trait that is frequently funny.

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