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Persepolis

Persepolis is a 2007 adult animated biographical drama film based upon Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel of the same name. It was written and directed by Satrapi in collaboration with Vincent Paronnaud. The story follows a young girl as she comes of age against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution. The title references the historical city of Persepolis. The film was an international co-production made by companies in France and Iran. It premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, where it co-won the Jury Prize, alongside Silent Light. In her acceptance speech, Satrapi said "Although this film is universal, I wish to dedicate the prize to all Iranians." It was released in France and Belgium on 27 June 2007, earning universal praise from critics, and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 80th Academy Awards.

Plot[]

At the Paris-Orly Airport in France, Marjane 'Marji' Satrapi looks at the flight schedule before taking a seat and reflecting on her childhood.

During the 1979 Iranian revolution against the Shah of Iran, Marji's middle-class family participates in the rallies, but she is forbidden from attending. One day, Marji's uncle Anoosh arrives to have dinner with the family after being released from a nine-year prison sentence, inspiring Marji with his stories of his life on the run from the government.

The Shah is eventually deposed and elections for a new leading power commence; Marji's family's situation does not improve, and they are upset when Islamic fundamentalists win the elections and start imposing strict Islamic law. The government forces women to dress modestly and wear headscarves, and Anoosh is rearrested and executed for his political beliefs, along with other political dissenters. Over time, many Iranians escape to various countries abroad.

Though disillusioned, Marji and her family try to adapt to life under the new regime. The Iran–Iraq War breaks out soon after, and Marji witnesses firsthand its horrors; meanwhile, the Iranian government begins implementing laws that cut down even more on social freedoms. Later, her uncle Taher suffers a heart attack and must go to England for surgery, but the borders are closed, and only people approved by the Board of Health can leave. When Marji's aunt attempts to get permission, she finds that the hospital director she must deal with is her former window-washer, who is incompetent and totally submissive to his religion.

Marji and her father go to see Khosro, a man who prints fake passports and promises to make the passport in a week. Khosro is sheltering Niloufar, a young woman wanted for her Communist beliefs, to whom Marji takes an instant liking. Later, Niloufar is spotted and promptly arrested and executed; Khosro's house is ransacked in the process, and he flees without making the passport. Marji watches as her uncle dies, and the family tries to find solace in secret parties where they enjoy pleasures the government has outlawed, including alcohol.

As she grows up, Marji refuses to stay out of trouble, secretly buying heavy metal music on the black market, wearing unorthodox clothing such as denim jackets, and celebrating punk rock and other Western music sensations like Michael Jackson, which nearly causes her to be arrested. She is expelled from school when she openly rebuts a teacher's lies about government abuses.

Fearing her arrest, Marji's parents send her to a French lycée in Vienna, Austria where she lives with Catholic nuns, but is upset by their discriminatory and judgmental behavior. Marji makes few friends and ultimately feels isolated with people who view her with open disdain. After a while, she is thrown out of her shelter for insulting a nun, and moves between houses until she rents a room from Dr. Frau Schloss, an unstable former teacher.

One night, Marji hears her grandmother's voice telling her to stay true to herself as she leaves a party after lying to an acquaintance that she is French; her would-be lover reveals his homosexuality after a failed attempt at sex with her. She goes on to engage in a passionate love affair with a man named Markus, which ends badly when she discovers him cheating on her. Schloss then accuses Marji of stealing her brooch, and Marji finally leaves. She spends the day on a park bench, reflecting upon how "stupid" she has been, and realizes she has nowhere else left to go. After living on the street for a few months, she contracts bronchitis and almost dies.

Marji awakens in a Viennese hospital and returns to Iran with her family's permission, hoping that the end of the war will improve their quality of life. After spending several days watching television, she falls into clinical depression, and attempts suicide by overdosing on medication. She falls asleep and has a dream about God and Karl Marx telling her what is important and encouraging her to live. Her determination is renewed, she attends university classes and starts a relationship with fellow student Reza.

With Iranian society stricter than before, Marji, while waiting for Reza in the plaza one day, lies to a police officer that a man made advances on her to avoid being arrested for wearing makeup. Her grandmother is disappointed by Marji's behavior and berates her, telling her that both her grandfather and her uncle died supporting freedom and that she should never forsake them or her family by sacrificing her integrity. Realizing her mistake, Marji delivers a speech during a class at the university, and her grandmother is pleased to hear that she openly confronted the blatantly sexist double standard in her university's forum on public morality, but both Marji's and Reza's families are forced to pay a fine when they are caught holding hands out in public. To avoid even more scrutiny from the religious police, the two get married, yet Marji's mother worries that her daughter has made a terrible mistake in being married at such a young age. A year later, Marji's relationship with Reza falls apart and Marji, after having a talk with her grandmother, decides to get a divorce.

The fundamentalist police discover and raid a party Marji is attending, and while the women are detained, the men escape across the rooftops. One of them, Nima, hesitates before jumping, consequently falling to his death. After Nima's death and her divorce, Marji leaves Iran permanently to avoid being targeted by the Iranian authorities as a political dissident. Before leaving, she takes a trip to the Caspian Sea with her grandmother and visits the graves of her grandfather and uncle. Marji's mother forbids her from returning, and Marji agrees. Her grandmother dies soon after her departure.

Returning to the present, Marji collects her luggage and gets into a taxi. As the taxi drives away from the airport, the driver asks her where she is from and she replies "Iran", keeping the promise she made to Anoosh and her grandmother that she would remember where she came from and always stay true to herself. She recalls her final memory of her grandmother telling her how she placed jasmine in her brassiere to smell lovely every day.

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