Based on the graphic novel by Iranian-born author Marjane Satrapi, Chicken with Plums marks the second instalment of a trilogy that began with Persepolis. Like that Academy Award®–nominated film, Chicken with Plums is co-directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Satrapi herself, whose transition from comics to movies is accompanied by a refreshing and imaginative approach to visual storytelling. The work draws upon innovations that span the entire history of cinema, from the striking shadows of German Expressionism to the punchy colour palette of early Technicolor films. Unlike its predecessor, Chicken with Plums is more live-action than animated, but it too is blazingly alive with visual flair.
The year is 1958, the city Tehran. Celebrated violinist Nasser Ali Khan (Mathieu Amalric) has an unexpected encounter with a longlost love, but she fails to recognize him. He returns home, has an argument with his wife and, most troublingly, discovers that his prized violin has been broken. He’s unable to replace it, can’t conceive of life without the consolation of music, and soon finds that he can’t get out of bed, where he lies locked both in dreams about his childhood and projections of his own children’s futures. His reveries lay somewhere between fantasy and oblivion, and quickly assemble into a kind of thriller, riddled with flashbacks and flash-forwards (as well as a vision of a naked Sophia Loren), that illuminates his peculiar persona and the source of his despair.
Blending the fantastic with piercing emotional truths, Chicken with Plums mines uncharted narrative territory. Paronnaud and Satrapi’s bold visual design and adventurous structure are fully matched by the performances, not only from the always fascinating Amalric (star of 2007 Festival favourite The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), but also from the international dream team of Isabella Rossellini, Maria de Medeiros and Chiara Mastroianni. With ingredients this rich, you know you’re in for one delicious meal.
- Posted: September 08, 2011
- Director: Vincent Paronnaud
- Writer: Vincent Paronnaud
- Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
- Release: August 17, 2012
- Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Edouard Baer, Maria De Medeiros
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