The Complete Persepolis

Learn about the author Marjane Satrapi through our IO!

Influences on the author.

Political Influences:

Satrapi's political affiliations were primarily liberal. She took after her parents, believing in mostly democratic views. For example, Satrapi was critical of George Bush’s christian fundamentalism. It is evident in the novella that she is always following in her parents footsteps as she is interested in the war right from the beginning of the novel on, believing in the same things that her parents do.

Religious Influences:

Her religious view seems to transition which is evident throughout the book. She begins with a very strong relationship to god without much parental reinforcement. As time goes on she seems the lose her ties to God until the second part of the book when she asks her mother to pray for her to pass an important exam. She finds her God again. This is interesting as in the beginning of the book the mother and fathers beliefs are not mentioned. Her parents also encouraged the war, but when the war actually commences and becomes a bad thing, the parents adopt a religious mind set. The same goes for Marjane.

Societal Influences:

In an interview Satrapi had stated that Persepolis was meant for the Westerners as a way to inform them of Iran and allow them of what goes on. She wanted humor to bring cultures together in times of need and be able to tell a story that can make the heavy stuff lighter. She wanted to be able to tell journalist who question why exactly she wrote the book by stating that it was “because you didn’t make good your job!” She rounded this topic off by stating: “The moment we can laugh together is the moment we understand each other. Once we understand each other, we cannot make war with one another.”

Artistic Influences:

Persepolis begs the question of how does one tell the story of one’s life when words seem to lack the meaning required. Satrapi does this in the way of a graphic fiction novel, depicting specific events from her life and making the bold decision of what life happenings truly convey the themes and messages she wants to highlight. She had once said “Nobody would ask of a movie director, ‘Why did you make a movie, why didn’t you dance?’ I made a book. It is an object made out of paper. The difference is that it has pictures.” Which, this has come up time and time again where Satrapi reinforces that she is, in fact, an artist, and not a commenter on politics or religion.

Facts about the Marjane Satrapi.

  • Born on 22 November 1969; Rasht, Iran.

  • Speaks English, Persian, German and French.

  • Married to Mattias Ripa.

  • Lives in Paris, France.
  • Her father was an engineer.
  • Her mother was a dress designer.
  • Growing up she had no toys in her house, only books.

“Nobody would ask of a movie director, ‘Why did you make a movie, why didn’t you dance?’ I made a book. It is an object made out of paper. The difference is that it has pictures.” -Marjane Satrapi

Facts about the movie.

  • Persepolis was adapted into an animated film of the same name which debuted at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival in May 2007.

  • Carlos Reygadas Co-written and co-directed by Satrapi and director Vincent Paronnaud.

  • The film came in a French and English version.

  • The English version was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in January 2008.

  • Satrapi became the first woman to be nominated for this award.

  • The film was successful commercially and critically.

  • It won the Best First Film at the César Awards 2008.

  • Satrapi and Paronnaud continued collaboration with a second film, Chicken with Plums.

Exclusive interview with the author, Marjane Satrapi.

Persepolis - Exclusive: Marjane Satrapi

“The moment we can laugh together is the moment we understand each other.” -Marjane Satrapi

Interview with Marjane Satrapi.

Why did Marjane Satrapi choose to write Persepolis as a comic instead of straight prose?

I didn't have any other way. My brain functions with images. Just the words is not enough. I have tried to make a serious book and all of that. I just become completely pathetic. I lose my sense of humor and I write badly. I sit down, and I say to myself, "Now you have to make a masterpiece!" And of course I make shit. The second you say to yourself you should make a masterpiece is the best way to make the biggest shit in your life. But when I draw, I don't have this problem. I am so into my work and I'm so happy to do it, so I'm just floating. I don't have any other way, actually.

Regarding the upcoming Persepolis film: did Satrapi find this as an opportunity to make any changes to the original story?

Yes, there are things that have changed because the narration in a movie and a graphic novel or comic is absolutely not the same. At the beginning, everyone was thinking that I would just take the frame of the comic and make a movie, which is not true. First of all we cannot put [in] all the things that are in the two Persepolis books. When something moves, the sound, the dialogue and the music, it completely becomes something else. And it's really not to flatter myself, because if I wanted to flatter myself I would say that my book is the best thing I have ever done. I made the movie with my best friend, so we co-wrote it and co-directed. [He] is extremely talented, and he is very good where I'm not good and I am good where he is not good. From what I have seen now, I prefer the movie to the book.