Chicken with Plums (film)

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Chicken with Plums
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Marjane Satrapi
Vincent Paronnaud
Produced by Hengameh Panahi
Screenplay by Marjane Satrapi
Vincent Paronnaud
Based on Chicken with Plums 
by Marjane Satrapi
Starring Mathieu Amalric
Edouard Baer
Maria de Medeiros
Golshifteh Farahani
Eric Caravaca
Chiara Mastroianni
Cinematography Christophe Beaucarne
Edited by Stéphane Roche
Celluloïd Dreams, TheManipulators
Distributed by Le Pacte
Release dates
  • 3 September 2011 (2011-09-03) (Venice)
  • 26 October 2011 (2011-10-26) (France)
Running time
94 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €12 million

Chicken with Plums (French: Poulet aux prunes) is a 2011 French-German drama film directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud.[1] It is based on the graphic novel of the same name. The film premiered in competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival on 3 September 2011.[2] It was released in France on 26 October through Le Pacte.[3]


As a young man, violinist Nasser Ali Khan (Mathieu Amalric) falls in love with Irâne (Golshifteh Farahani), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy shopkeeper. Her father forbids them to marry, convinced that an artist could never financially support his daughter. The dismayed musician could only carry on because his mentor gave him a special violin and advised him to sublimate his affliction. Consequently, he became a renowned artist and eventually married another woman. Nonetheless in his mind he is still with Irâne. When his lack of affection for his family leads to serious dispute between him and his wife she destroys his beloved violin. It strikes him he is no longer up to make music as he did before and therefore he is longing for death. After rejecting more conventional methods of suicide, he decides to simply lie in bed until death will have him. As he awaits the arrival of death, he is awash in visions of the past and the film lets the spectator accompany him on this bizarre and strangely beautiful journey.



The film has been 2010 completely shot in Germany at the Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam. The backlot stood in for all the inside and outside scenes in that production.[4][5]

The film is a French-German coproduction between Celluloid Dreams (Hengameh Panahi) and TheManipulators (Joint Venture of Studio Babelsberg (Potsdam), Celluloid Dreams (Paris) and Clou Partners (Munich)). Partners are uFILM, Studio 37, ZDF, Arte, with the participation of Canal+ and Cinécinéma. The film was subsidized by Deutscher Filmförderfonds (de) (DFFF, The German Federal Film Fund), medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Cinémage 5, uFund, Cinéart and Prokino.


Jay Weissberg wrote in Variety that "The same winning balance of seriousness and humor that made Persepolis such a hit works equally well in Chicken With Plums", and elaborated: "What Satrapi and Paronnaud have really achieved is an evocation of a lost world, much as they did in Persepolis. They've beautifully re-created the fiercely proud, Western-leaning life of the Persian middle class of the 1950s, all constructed in Berlin's Babelsberg studios with the kind of atmospheric quality of Fellini's Cinecitta-constructed Romagna[.] ... Though comparisons may be made with the exaggerated stylings of Amelie, the people in Chicken With Plums eventually lose that sense of artificiality, or rather it becomes superseded by real emotion."[6]

The Washington Times said it had "too much erotic content to make it past Iranian censors," but it did justice to the "subversive poetry of the Iranian cinema."[7] The New York Times said it was "captivating, but not exactly moving" and "more anecdotal than epic".[8] The Los Angeles Times said the tone and style lacked coherence, moving from "fairy tale to sitcom grotesquerie, silent comedy to Expressionist chiaroscuro."[9]



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