2 October 2012 | ek-hlewagastir
A nicely wrapped empty box
I loved Persepolis both as a graphic novel and as a film. So I was looking forward to Satrapi's new work. I had neither read the graphic novel nor much about the film before watching, which I now regret because this film has little or nothing to do with its predecessor. First of all, it is no animation film and Satrapi's beautiful artwork is limited to the opening titles and to a tale told by the Angel of Death towards the end of the film. The whole cast is French, they speak French and both look and behave like French and, except when it comes to the characters' names, one has to do a big effort to keep in mind that the story is supposed to take place in Teheran. It might be a meaningless detail to some, but for me it was a disturbing discrepancy. The whole film has a superb photography and every scene is carefully manufactured (i.e. manipulated in post-production) into something that indeed looks like a powerful work of art. But inside this nicely wrapped box, I find really little that makes this film worth watching. It's not a film for children: I wouldn't want to tell my children the story of a man who decides to let himself die showing total disrespect for both his wife and children. But as a grown-up, I am really missing something, that something that I did find in the autobiography of a little girl growing up away from a country which has ceased to exist. Chicken with plums is a sort of disturbing bedtime story about a man who lost the joy of living, carefully wrapped up in some sort of misty reverie, nothing more than that. Still, it is probably supposed to be a comedy, and that adds a little sugar to the pill that you'll have to swallow if you decide to watch this. I feel a big disappointment. Just like that plate of smoking-hot chicken with plums which is left untouched on the table by the protagonist.