Imagine being only a child when a revolution breaks out, destroys your country and subverts the life you’re used to.
That’s what Marjane Satrapi narrates in her graphic autobiography, that takes place in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The little girl lives in Tehran with her parents (middle-class, left-wing intellectuals, politically active) and grandmother. When the new regime takes the power (the fundamentalist Islamic Republic led by the Ayatollah Khomeini) violence is unleashed even more than before: torture, imprisonment, executions, the increasing radicalisation, the subordination of women. Satrapi describes these changes through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl, that has to learn a new way to live without losing her poetic, deep and rebel mindset.
Persepolis is a personal and political, funny and heartbreaking real story that alternates reportage, biography, diary, poetry and humor; drawn in black and white with a simple but very effective graphic style, it’s divided into two volumes. The second one (2004) will focus on the fourteen-year-old Marjane studying in Vienna, finally living the liberal lifestyle she dreamed of but also facing the problems of living across two cultures.
Satrapi also co-directed the film adaptation, Persepolis (2007). Both the books and the movie received numerous awards, have been translated in many languages and the graphic novels have sold 1,500,000 copies overall.
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