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File:Persepolis.gif

  One can forgive, but one should never forget.

Persepolis is an autobiographical comic by Marjane Satrapi, published in 2000 and adapted into an animated film in 2007. It begins with her childhood in Tehran during the Seventies, as her middle-class family works to bring down the Shah. Soon, the fundamentalists are swept in to power, and a new wave of repression begins. Marjane rebels in small ways, by buying smuggled rock tapes and denim jackets, drawing the attention of the police and compelling her parents to send her to Europe. She kicks around Vienna for a few years, alienated by the people there, before returning to a Tehran changed by years of fundamentalist rule.

Both the graphic novel and the film were well received by critics upon their release. The film was nominated for the Best Animated Picture Oscar but lost to Ratatouille. The Iranian government issued protest against it being shown at various film festivals worldwide, but it allowed a limited screening in Tehran. The film was Banned in China for a short period of time in Lebanon, as well.


These works contain examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Quite a few chapters from the graphic novel are cut from the film version. They intended to add a couple but cut them out. Some scenes, such as Marjane's various jumping-around from home-to-home were also mentioned but minimalized in the film version.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Used verbatim in the first book by Marjane's parents.
    • Not to mention, the fundamentalist Islamist government tended to believe it.
  • Art Evolution: Marjane's art in the first few pages is strikingly different from the rest of the book. Compare this with this. The shading grew cleaner, the lines thicker, and the anatomy much, much better.
  • Ascended Extra: Marjane's grandmother didn't have a small role in the graphic novel, but she got a much more significant presence in the movie.
  • Big Bad: The Islamic fundamentalist government, arguably.
  • Bittersweet Ending
  • Black Market: Where people can buy stuff like Michael Jackson tapes.
  • Blood From the Mouth: In a nonfatal form of this, Marjane coughs up blood from severe bronchitis. Fortunately, she survives and wakes up in the hospital.
  • Body Horror: Marjane's description of puberty and the associated images has shades of this. Needless to say, it's Played for Laughs.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Marjane snapping at Frau Dr. Schloss in The Movie was this, only somehow still mixed with Dull Surprise.

  Marjane: GO FUCK YOURSELF...!!!

  • Child Soldiers
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Carried out by the Shah, then the revolutionary government.
  • Cool Old Guy: Uncle Anoosh.
  • Cool Old Lady: Marjane's Grandmother.
  • Culture Police
  • Deliberately Monochrome - the film.
  • Did Not Do the Research: In-universe example: the tape smugglers mispronounced the names of several musicians. Including Michael Jackson. In the eighties. Granted, it could have been deliberate, as the Moral Guardians were hanging around.
  • Driven to Suicide: Marjane.
  • During the War: The Iran-Iraq War, to be specific.
  • Dystopia
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After having to go through the misery of war, the deaths of Anoosh and some of her neighbors, numerous heartbreaks (including a divorce) and a near-identity crisis, Marjane finally leaves for France at the end and becomes a free woman.
  • Egocentrically Religious: Marjane even thought she'd become the last prophet of Islam.
  • Fag Hag: For a while, she lives together with eight gay guys in one shared apartment.
  • "Falling in Love" Montage: The film shows Marjane and Markus pelting one another with snowballs, running through the park, smoking hash with content expressions and showing a gleeful, happy romance... before he cheats on her.
    • Subverted soon after when she re-envisions the entire thing but with Markus as a slimy, creepy douchebag.
      • In his defence, she does mention she was a huge emotional load on him, as she pretty much expected him to be an ersatz for every man in her life.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: When the Shah is deposed in 1979, Marjane's parents and much of the population expect the new regime to be an improvement. But it soon proves every bit as dictatorial and repressive as the old one. And then even more than the old one. The comic mentions it: While the Shah had 3000 political prisoners, the Islamic theocracy had 300 thousand.
  • Girls with Moustaches: A teacher tells her female students to wear headcoverings because a glimpse of any of a woman's hair is a temptation to men. Marjane's father comments that the teacher's moustache is hardly seductive.
  • Grandpa God: Specifically, the young Marjane pictures him as looking like Karl Marx.
  • Growing Up Sucks
  • Holier Than Thou
  • Hollywood Tone Deaf
  • Hug and Comment: Marjane hugs her grandmother before falling asleep next to her, then asks the older woman how she kept her breasts so firm over the years.
  • I Ate What?: For a while, she has to wait tables in Austria. When one of the guests sexually harasses her, the cook sneakily avenges her by spitting on his schnitzel.
  • Imaginary Friend: As a kid, Marjane has God as one.
  • Iran-Iraq War
  • It Got Worse
  • Kids Are Cruel: Marjane and her friends attach nails to their fists and chase another kid so they can beat him...because his father works for the government.
  • Last Het Romance: With Enrique.
  • Love Hurts
  • Manipulative Bastard: The British are portrayed this way in regards to Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, the father and predecessor of the Shah described in the comic.
  • Mood Whiplash
  • Moral Guardians: The Iranian Islamic Revolution is this trope, banning all manner of Western media as being decadent and immoral. In Real Life, the Iranian government, angered by the movie's portrayal of them as reactionary, humorless, suppressive, and misogynistic, reacted by humorlessly suppressing the movie and calling Marjane Satrapi a whore.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Momo.
  • No One Could Survive That: Marjane attempts to commit suicide by downing all her anti-depression medicine, yet still survives. Lampshaded when her therapist comments that he can't find any explanation for her survival other than divine intervention.
  • Not So Different: The author's family is somewhat westernized and thus doesn't like the Islamists who claim that anything coming from the west is horrible and decadent. When she goes to Austria after some years under the Ayatollah, she is shocked when another girl openly talks about her pussy, and tells her she had sex with 18 boys (without being married, of course).
    • And when the author returns to Iran and tells her female friends that she slept with several guys, they also call her a whore.
  • Pieta Plagiarism: Marjane almost entirely copies the statue for her art university entrance exam but puts a soldier's uniform on Jesus to appeal to the faculty.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Anarchists certainly don't act very anarchist. (Actually, often Truth in Television. But better than if they had started to throw random bombs like the first anarchists did.)
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Shown to horrifying effect.
  • Prison Rape / Marital Rape License: Discussed. When a virgin is arrested, a member of the Secret Police marries and deflowers her before she's executed. Understandably, Marjane's parents freak out over this.
  • Sexless Marriage: The marriage between Marjane and Reza soon becomes this; they start Sleeping Single a month after their wedding.
  • Starter Villain: The Shah, quickly replaced by the Iranian Islamic government.
  • Training Montage: Marjane coming out of her depression, with Eye Of The Tiger playing. The film took a... unique interpretation of this.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Movie contains a metaphorical example.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When guards come in a raid, Marjane accuses a man of saying something indecent to her in order to save herself from being confronted over wearing lipstick. He's never seen again. Later on, she tells her grandmother about the incident--and also laughs about it. Grandma is far, far from amused. Since the movie takes place in post-revolution Iran, the man could've been tortured or even executed. The scene shows how a police state could turn anyone into a monster.
    • Basically, it's a Real Life equivalent of the Do it to Julia! scene fron Nineteen Eighty-Four
    • Marjane's mother delivers her one, after cutting in on the moment listed under Kids Are Cruel. She asks Marjane "How would you like it if I nailed your ears to the wall?" before telling her that it isn't fair to hurt someone for what their parents do.
    • Also, one nun in the school in Austria criticizes the author for a minor thing. She retaliates by openly calling all the nuns former prostitutes.
      • The nun started insulting her for being Iranian, actually, but calling them all ex-prostitutes may have been going a bit far. Still, it maybe have been true- another character mentioned prostitutes becoming nuns to Marjane earlier on, and the nun lied to her parents about the expulsion rather than bringing up Marjane's comment, claiming she was being kicked out for getting caught stealing fruit yoghurt from the kitchen, even saying it made no sense because Marjane hates yoghurt. (The claim also seems a lot more rude in the movie; in the comic, one of the nuns is friendly to her and cries when she leaves)
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: See What the Hell, Hero? above
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