Chicken with PlumsFeature Film | Marjane Satrapi By Josh Ralske
A whimsical fable with surprising emotional power.
While Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis was a thrillingly perfect distillation of Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel, their live action take on Chicken with Plums goes in a completely different direction. Despite its somber subject matter, Chicken is broadly cartoonish for much of its running time, but its cumulative emotional weight is surprisingly potent. Mathieu Amalric stars as Nasser-Ali, a renowned musician living in Tehran in the 1950s (after the CIA-backed coup that brought the shah to power). Unhappily married to Faringuisse (Maria de Medeiros), and unable to satisfyingly replace his broken violin, Nasser-Ali decides he wants to die. The film depicts the next eight days of his life, flashing back and forward to tell the story of his extended family, and of his great lost love, Irȃne (Golshifteh Farahani). Satrapi and Paronnaud use wild stylistic flourishes, at one point using the style of a television sitcom to depict Nasser-Ali's son's obese family life as an expat in America. The pronounced artificiality and stylistic shifts are interesting, and are generally well-executed, but they result in a haphazard and uneven work. Somehow, the melodramatic core of the film -- the crushed romantic hopes of its characters -- still resonates. Chicken with Plums doesn't have the political and cultural immediacy of Persepolis, but in its final moving moments, it achieves a remarkable power all its own.
|Chicken with Plums trailer|