Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic, editor of Movie City News and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming. Check a few signs on Twitter (@chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram (instagram.com/raypride). Twitter: @RayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)
Marjane Satrapi follows up her autobiographical animated feature “Persepolis” (2007), adapted from her graphic novels, with a live-action tale inspired by lore about her mother’s late uncle, a despondent tar player. (Once more, Vincent Paronnaud is her co-director). “Chicken with Plums” adapts her 2004 graphic novel “Poulet aux prunes,” titled after the favorite dish of the Persian musician portrayed in their second collaboration. Mostly set in Tehran in 1958, this “lovely, sad love story,” as Satrapi calls it, relates the last eight days of a heartbroken violinist revisiting his past, which included a concert career abroad. Nasser Ali Khan (Mathieu Amalric) cannot replace his broken violin or reunite with his lost love, so he takes to his bed and contemplates suicide. His master gave him the instrument that once belonged to his own master. Nasser is told he must “capture the sigh” to be great. Denied the hand of his true love, the disciple will channel his melancholy through his strings. If that one-note tonality did not limit his repertoire, it did nurture a life-long melancholy that is inventively visualized as magically realist and morbidly romantic. With Isabella Rossellini, Golshifteh Farahani, Edouard Baer, Chiara Mastroianni, Jamel Debbouze. 91m. (Bill Stamets)
“Chicken With Plums” opens Friday at the Music Box.