“Chicken with Plums,” opening Friday (8/17/12) in limited release, is a fascinating puzzle: at once a mordant comedy, a tale of unrequited love and a story of heart-breaking artistry. Directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud from Satrapi’s graphic novel, it is magical and mysterious, a story of love lost – and lost again.
The storytelling is deceptive: Initially, we see Nasser-Ali (Mathieu Amalric), a violinist in Teheran in search of an instrument to replace the broken violin that has made him famous. But none of the instruments he buys have that magic something. After an encounter on the street with a woman who says she doesn’t remember him, he goes home, locks himself in his bedroom and announces that he’s decided to die. And, the narrator announces that, on the eighth day hence, he did in fact expire.
The film then backs up to chronicle the eight days Nasser-Ali spends waiting for death. In the process, it skips back and forth through his life, looking at the choices, the triumphs and the disappointments that colored and comprised his existence.
This review continues on my website.