Chicken with Plums
Like a delightfully wrapped present whose contents were most casually chosen, Chicken with Plums is a humorously melancholic tale which spends so much of its duration jumping back and forth in time among its side characters that it’s ended up giving way too little attention to the heartbreaking love story at its core. After his suffering wife (Maria de Medeiros) breaks his prized violin out of frustration, the talented Persian violinist Nasser-Ali (Mathieu Amalric) – a father of two small children and the victim of a disastrous first love – decides to slowly take his own life as he seemingly struggles to replace the broken instrument.
Narrated by Azrael (Edouard Baer), the Angel of Death, co-writer-directors Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi’s follow-up to their acclaimed animated feature Persepolis – again adapted from Satrapi’s graphic novel – is saturated with a fantastical touch of fatalism which, while spelling the certain death of Nasser-Ali, takes its sweet time to reveal his one true love, Irâne (played by the beautiful Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani). It’s hard to resist the 1958-set movie’s dazzling visuals and, to a certain degree, poetic ruminations of the lasting damages of one lost love on various generations in two families. You just wish that we’re given a better view of that tragic romance in the first place.
Dir Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi, category IIB, 92 mins, opens on June 21