Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB
Original story: Poulet Aux Prunes
France/Germany/Belgium, 2011. Celluloid Dreams, The Manipulators, uFilm, Studio 37, Le Pacte, Lorette Production, Film(s), Arte France Cinéma, ZDF/Arte, Cinémage 5, uFund, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Canal+, CinéCinéma, Le Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Fédéral de Belgique, Umedia. Screenplay by Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud, based on the comic book by Marjane Satrapi. Cinematography by Christophe Beaucarne. Produced by Hengameh Panahi. Music by Olivier Bernet. Production Design by Udo Kramer. Costume Design by Madeline Fontaine. Film Editing by Stephane Roche. Toronto International Film Festival 2011. Venice Film Festival 2011.
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s adaptation of their graphic novel Persepolis was such an important and moving human record that they are forgiven any future missteps, including this doggedly awkward follow-up also based on their book. Transferring their talents to live-action (where their previous venture was animated) it follows an uncomfortably cast Mathieu Amalric in brownface as one of Iran’s premier violinists. After losing his instrument to damage beyond repair, Amalric searches high and low for a new one and, when he is unable to find another violin that expresses his inspiration the way his original one did, makes up his mind to commit suicide. This is great melodrama, of course, so killing himself will not be a quick and gruesome affair but rather a process of languishing in his bolted-up room for a number of days until he expires. While waiting for the end to arrive, he is visited by visions of pleasure and suffering that recount to him his past and his art. What aims to be an imaginative, lighthearted but poignant caprice is actually a grating experience that plays like bad Jean-Pierre Jeunet.