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Poulet aux prunes (2011)

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Since his beloved violin was broken, Nasser Ali Khan, one of the most renowned musicians of his day, has lost all taste for life. Finding no instrument worthy of replacing it, he decides to confine himself to bed to await death.
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mathieu Amalric ... Nasser-Ali Khan
Edouard Baer ... Azraël
Maria de Medeiros ... Faringuisse
Golshifteh Farahani ... Irâne
Éric Caravaca ... Abdi
Chiara Mastroianni ... Lili, adulte
Mathis Bour Mathis Bour ... Cyrus
Enna Balland Enna Balland ... Lili
Didier Flamand Didier Flamand ... Le maître de musique
Serge Avedikian Serge Avedikian ... Le père d'Irâne
Rona Hartner ... Soudabeh
Jamel Debbouze ... Houshang / Le mendiant
Isabella Rossellini ... Parvine
Frédéric Saurel Frédéric Saurel ... Mirza (as Fred Saurel)
Christian Friedel ... Cyrus, 22 ans
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Storyline

Nasser-Ali, a talented musician, loses the will to live after his wife breaks his beloved violin during an argument. He searches for a replacement, and finding none that sounds quite the same, he vows to die. Eight days later, he does. This is the story of his last week of life, where we see flashbacks and flash forwards of his previous life and his children's futures. We also see appearances of a nude Sophia Loren as well as the angel of death, Azarel. As we see his life, we realize exactly why he chose to end it and the profundity of this choice. Written by Irefusetotellyoumyname

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some drug content, violent images, sensuality and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Germany | Belgium

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

26 October 2011 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Chicken with Plums See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,301, 19 August 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$253,705, 9 December 2012
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Yeki boud, yeki naboud. There was someone, there was no one. That is how Persian tales begin. Yeki boud, yeki naboud.
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Connections

References The River Girl (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark subject matter leavened with fantastic visuals
3 April 2015 | by brchthethirdSee all my reviews

From the creators of PERSEPOLIS comes the tale of a man who loses all hope and decides to die after his favorite violin is destroyed. That might sound odd, but of course it is a gross oversimplification of what goes on in CHICKEN WITH PLUMS. The central character, Nasser Ali (Matthieu Amalric), does indeed lose his precious violin, but its significance is revealed is multiple flashback sequences which give him background, motivation and depth. I don't really want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that the end result is rather poetic and touching. From a visual standpoint, it continues from the same place that PERSEPOLIS came from, while imbuing it with lots of color and fantastic elements. The film feels like a fairy tale at times, with a sense of whimsy and free-flowing creativity that flies in the face of rather depressing subject matter. Matthieu Amalric does a standup job as Nasser Ali, bringing a certain world-weariness to his character as well as youthful optimism in the flashback scenes. Ultimately, by the end of the film you understand why Nasser has chosen to just give up (although I don't condone suicide). Thematically, I think the film works on a couple of levels. First, there is the surface story which is about losing hope and one's raison d'etre. However, with a character named "Iran," I also think that there is a subtle political allegory as well. The film takes place in the 1950's and references are made visually and through dialogue to indicate that Marjane Satrapi is making commentary on this particular period of Iranian history. She also takes some potshots at America that I thought were slightly uncalled for, although no less funny in the context of the film. My only real issues with the film are that the supporting characters are mostly sidelined and/or underwritten, and the narrative structure lends itself to being a little episodic at times. That being said, though, I was quite pleased with the end result and emotionally invested the whole way. Overall, CHICKEN WITH PLUMS is a delightful cinematic confection from Marjane Satrapi about her native Iran. The subject matter is kind of depressing, but plenty of visual sugar (along with some emotional heft) helps the medicine go down smoothly.


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