21 July 2012

Chicken with Plums

He is an Iranian artist. He wants to die. What he loved in this world, what inspired him, were taken away from him. Eight critical days will allow him to reflect back upon his life, maybe even find a new light (his children? a new violon? an old acquaintance met on the street?) – or is too late already?

Poulet aux Prunes (Chicken with Plums), a French film with plethora of well known French actors, is the sad but aesthetically beautiful tale of this man, played by Mathieu Amalric (known internationally for being the villain against James Bond in Quantum of Solace).

The filming technique is reminiscent of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's own style (director of Amélie, known as Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain in France, but also Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, must sees): voice-over throughout the film; slightly theatrical and exaggerated personality traits with their share of cruel irony (especially at the end) and dark humour (the bus journey with the boy singing at the top of his voice, the various ways of committing suicide, Jamel Debbouze as the shady merchant); the use of smoke whether as symbols or as transitions for the film's sequences; the mingling of cartoon-style imagery (after all, Marjane Satrapi, an illustrator well known for Persépolis, is the co-director).

However tragic the story may be, it's really all about love: lost love, forbidden love, unreciprocated love, broken love. One of the best movies watched this year.

Further reading: