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Chicken With Plums (DVD Review)

19 Feb, 2013 By: Angelique Flores

Street 2/26/13
Sony Pictures
Box Office $0.25 million
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some drug content, violent images, sensuality and smoking.
In French with English subtitles.
Stars Mathieu Amalric, Chiara Mastroianni,
Isabella Rossellini, Jamel Debbouze.

Chicken With Plums is just as whimsical, imaginative and charming as its title might suggest. It’s the latest feature from Oscar-nominated director-writer duo Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis).

The genre-defying film stars the always impressive and expressive Mathieu Amalric as Nasser-Ali, a talented and renowned violinist. He cares for little more than playing his violin at home, despite having a wife who needs his help to support and care for their two children.

During an argument, his wife, Faringuisse, breaks his beloved instrument, and Nasser-Ali tries but cannot find one worthy of replacing it. So he decides to die, as if this is the only natural thing to do. Realizing that he cannot bear a violent suicide, he instead spends his last week in bed waiting for death to claim him.

With touches of magical realism, Nasser-Ali’s life unfolds in flashbacks while he thinks about Faringuisse and his children, his mother and brother, and the woman he truly loved and probably should’ve married. In between all this, Faringuisse and his brother come to Nasser-Ali, trying to convince him to come out of bed. But Nasser-Ali finally gets his visit from Azrael, the angel of death, who comes early to claim him so he can visit a while with the man who has been calling upon him daily.

Shot in rich French arthouse form, even the dark, dreary colors pop with the story, as Nasser-Ali’s thoughts are brought to life through wonderfully dramatized and sometimes animated vignettes.

Chicken With Plums is another stylish and touching triumph from Paronnaud and Satrapi.

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