Perhaps unsurprisingly a number of them had food type connections and several of them are French. I therefore thought I might start an irregular and possibly infrequent series of posts about some of these movies. It could be even more irregular than I anticipate because my ability to watch these movies that I have recorded is somewhat impeded by the fact that I would need to actually be in charge of the TV for long enough to watch the movies but we will see how we go!
The first movie that I am going to focus on is the French movie Chicken with Plums. The movie is based on Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel of the same name. Whilst I read and loved her Persepolis graphic novels I had never read this book, and in fact it was only as I got part way through the movie that I realised that this movie was based on a book, let alone a graphic novel. In addition to writing the book, Satrapi was one of the directors.
Here is the trailer for the movie
Nasser Ali is a world famous violinist. He travelled the world for many years before returning to his home in Tehran, marrying and having children.. He is a somewhat morose character, as evidenced by the fact that when his beloved violin is broken and he can't find another to replace it, he simply decides that he wants to die.
Over the course of the next few days we get to know Nasser's life story as narrated by Azrael, the angel of death. From his childhood to his true love, his marriage, the lives of his children (including glimpses of their future lives), his relationship with his family and so much more.
I mentioned before that this movie was based on a graphic novel. This is a live action movie (with one short animated section) but you can definitely see the graphic novel influence. The setting is Iran prior to the revolution, but it is mostly a picture book rendering of the city of Tehran and the countryside. The action varies from over the top humour to deep poignancy, with perhaps some magical realism thrown in. It is a compelling mix as you don't necessarily know what is going to come next. And yet as a whole, the movie feels cohesive.
The final 20 minutes of the movie is an amazing montage of Ali Nasser's life over the last 20 years. Whilst it repeats some of what we already know from the film, these are often displayed from different perspectives and there are other revelations too. Visually it a gorgeous feast for the eyes and I ended up watching that section of the movie several times because it was just so beautiful, so touching, so well done. In fact, I might have to go and watch that last 20 minutes again right now.
While the whole movie is worth watching, I would strongly encourage people to try it out just so that they can get to that last 20 minutes too, and probably watch it multiple times like I have!
Of course, given that this is a Weekend Cooking post, I do feel as though I need to tie it back to food. The title of the story is a reference is a fact that Nasser Ali's favourite dish is Chicken with Plums. Whilst Nasser and his wife are pretty much in an unhappy marriage, she tries to snap him out of his depressed funk and to show that she does care by cooking his favourite dish. It did have me wondering what kind of dish it is. Obviously, without the author confirming which dish it is precisely we won't necessarily know, but I did find this video which I thought was interesting and the dish looks quite tasty too.