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Production Process

Persepolis is an unusual project in many ways. Adapting a novel for the screen is commonplace but adapting a graphic novel is less common. Marjane Satrapi, the author of the graphic novel and director of the film, made a deliberate decision to use traditional animation techniques giving the film Persepolis a very distinctive visual style.

The following clips look at specific aspects of the process:

Video clip of scenes from Persepolis, with commentary from the animators

Questions Clip 1

Think about other animated features you have seen. What are the differences between these and Persepolis? What did you think about the style used in Persepolis?

Marjane says that part of her decision to use traditional animation is because more high-tech techniques would look dated. Do you agree with this? She also says that traditional animation was chosen because, like people, it has imperfections. What do you think of this statement?

Do you agree with Marjane’s point that animation has a universal quality that live action does not?

She mentions specific aspects to the film that would be difficult to realise in live action such as the dream sequences. Can you imagine the differences that this would make to the film if sci-fi conventions were employed?

Video clip of the animation production process, focusing on character development

Questions Clip 2

In this clip we see the animator developing the characters' movements and emotions. How important is sound to the construction of the visuals here?

The animator talks about checking his progress, saying that he can only tell if it works by filming the sequence. What does this tell you about the animation process?

Video clip of Marjane working with the production team

Questions Clip 3

Persepolis is clearly a very personal project for Marjane, however we can see here that the process of developing scenes is a team effort. Do you think that this would be as much the case if this were a live action film?

Most animated features are not made in this way. Do you think that the skills required to produce the film Persepolis are lost through production that relies primarily on computer-generated techniques?

Interview with the Persepolis animators - PDF document.