Venice critics dine on ‘Chicken’

Satrapi's live-action pic continues her family story

Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s follow-up to “Persepolis,” “Chicken With Plums,” slipped down a treat for some critics at a press screening Saturday where it received an ovation.

The live-action “Chicken” is a major step up in commercial ambition from toon “Persepolis.”

Budgeted at €11 million ($15.8 million), pic is backed by major European players — Celluloid Dreams, which produces and handles international sales, and, among co-producers, the Manipulators, UFilm, Studio 37 and Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte, which releases “Chicken” in France.

Teuton distrib Prokino has German-speaking rights.

Set in quaint, old-world Tehran in 1958, “Plums” stars Mathieu Amalric as celebrated violinist Nasser Ali Khan. Prevented from marrying the woman he loves (Golshifteh Farahani), he plays for her for years in concert halls worldwide.

“Persepolis” became a milestone in European animation for adults, but Satrapi said she and Paronnaud needed a new challenge.

Anyway, she explained to Variety, “Chicken” is a continuation of “Persepolis.”

Khan is based on the brother of Satrapi’s grandfather, the communist revolutionary of “Persepolis.”

“Persepolis” covered the changes in Iran from the 1970s to the 1990s, “Chicken” begins in 1958, and reaches the 1990s in a sitcom parody flash-forward featuring Khan’s now grown-up son.

“It features the same family, but just goes backward in time,” she added. “What I want to do is to portray my whole family throughout the last century.”

The last film in her Iranian trilogy, “The Eleventh Graduate,” will unspool from the 1920s to the 1960s, featuring her paternal grandmother who escaped on horseback to marry her grandfatherand was only the 11th woman to finish her school studies in her province.

“Pushkin said, ‘If you want to write about the world, write about your small village,’ ” Satrapi said.

“Graduate” will also be live action. “My goal is really to make movies,” Satrapi added. “I’ll make comicbooks about other subjects. But I really want to concentrate on the language of film.”

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