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August 7, 2012, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


Outside the Box [Office] and Sony Pictures Classics invite you and a guest to a special preview screening of

Chicken with Plums

Written & Directed by Marjane Satrapi
and Vincent Paronnaud
Produced by Hengameh Panahi
Followed by a Q&A with Marjane Satrapi
and Vincent Paronnaud
7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
The Ray Stark Family Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Official Selection:

Venice International Film Festival 2011

Toronto International Film Festival 2011

Tribeca Film Festival 2012

Opens in Los Angeles on Friday, August 31st

About Chicken with Plums

Teheran, 1958. Since his beloved violin was broken, Nasser Ali Khan, one of the most renowned musicians of his day, has lost all taste for life. Finding no instrument worthy of replacing it, he decides to confine himself to bed to await death. As he hopes for its arrival, he plunges into deep reveries, with dreams as melancholic as they are joyous, taking him back to his youth and even to a conversation with Azrael, the Angel of Death, who reveals the future of his children... As pieces of the puzzle gradually fit together, the poignant secret of his life comes to light: a wonderful story of love which inspired his genius and his music...

Provided courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. Rated PG-13. Running time: 91 minutes. In French, with English subtitles.

To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, click here.


About the Guests

MARJANE SATRAPI (Writer/Director)

Marjane Satrapi was born in Iran. Having studied at the French lycee in Teheran, she furthered her studies in Vienna before settling in France in 1994. On arrival in Paris, she joined the Atelier des Vosges, a haunt of the big names in modern comic-book illustration.

In her first novel, Persepolis 1, published by L’Association in November 2000, Marjane retraces part of her family's history through the story of her first ten years until the fall of the Shah's regime and the start of the Iran-Iraq war. The book received the prize for the best first album at the Angouleme festival. In Persepolis 2, released in October 2001, she recounts the Iran-Iraq war and her adolescence until her departure for Vienna aged 14. Persepolis 3 and Persepolis 4 tell of her exile in Austria and her return to Iran.

She has since published two further novels, Embroideries and Chicken with Plums. The latter won the 2005 prize for the best album at the Angouleme festival.

She has also published children's books, notably Sagesses et malices de la Perse in partnership with Lila Ibrahim-Ouali and Bahman Namwar-Motalg, Monsters are Afraid of the Moon, Ulysse au pays des fous in partnership with Jean-Pierre Duffour, released in 2001; Ajdar, released in 2002 and Le Soupir, released in 2004.

In 2009, she appeared in Riad Sattouf's movie, Les Beaux Gosses (The French Kissers), co-wrote the lyrics of “Poney Rose” with Philippe Katerine for the album by Arielle Dombasle, Glamour a mort, and illustrated the cover of the Iggy Pop album Preliminaires.

Chicken with Plums is her second full-length movie co-directed with Vincent Paronnaud after Persepolis.


Vincent Paronnaud, alias Winshluss, was born in La Rochelle. He's a key figure in underground comic books.

He and his friend and partner Cizo co-created "Monsieur Ferraille", the emblematic character of the magazine Ferraille Illustre (of which he is co-chief editor, along with Cizo and Felder). Together, they published Comix 2000 in 2000, then Wizz et Buzz, Volume 1 of which appeared in 2006 and Volume 2 in 2007.

Solo, he published 7 Fac?ons d’en finir avec l’humanite and Super Negra in 1999, Welcome to the Death Club and Pat Boon - ”Happy End” in 2001, Smart Monkey in 2004 and Pinocchio in 2008.

He has been nominated three times at the Angouleme festival: in 2004 for Smart Monkey, in 2007 for Wizz et Buzz (with Cizo) and in 2009 for Pinocchio, for which he received the Fauve d’Or (prize for the best album).

In film, Winshluss directed a mid-length movie, Villemolle 81, which he co-wrote with Frederic Felder; two short animated movies: Raging Blues (B&W/6 min/2003) and O’Boy, What Nice Legs! (B&W/1 min/2004); and a mockumentary: Hollywood Superstars Avec Mr. Ferraille.

Chicken with Plums is his second full-length movie co-directed with Marjane Satrapi after Persepolis.

Directors' Statement

By Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud

Chicken with Plums is the story of a famous musician whose prized instrument has been ruined. Unable to replace his violin, he decides to die, and eight days later, he renders his soul, yet what seems like the end is really just the beginning. Under its romantic allure, this film is conceived as a thriller with flashbacks and flash forwards which shed light on Nasser’s personality and the reasons for his despair. Death is used as a springboard to talk about life.

The central themes of our film are the complexities of the world and the mysteries of the human soul. That’s why this film can jump registers from dramatic to comic to heartbreaking, because life is exactly like that. What interests us is not whether Nasser will die nor how, but why. We all share his universal quest to know, because it addresses the crystallization and the roots of our emotional life.

We have been working as a duo since Persepolis, and our collaboration demonstrates the absurdity of the term “culture shock”. Coming from two different cultures, being of opposite sexes and not sharing the same background, we still managed to blend a mutual culture for ourselves. What interests us is this melting, this mixing – the choice of making this film which takes place in Iran with French players such as Mathieu Amalric, Edouard Baer and Chiara Mastroianni, Italian actress Isabella Rossellini, Iranian Golshifteh Farahani and Moroccan Jamel Debbouze only emphasizes more the universality of our purpose and the richness of diversity. It’s like Lubitsch who made films in America which took place in Prague or Warsaw with American actors. In any case, the stage is a place where someone plays someone else. Our Tehran is imaginary and it is not be anchored in the idea of reconstitution. The city is created entirely in a studio where the locations and the actors are treated sublimely, like in the magic of 50s Technicolor movies where realism was less important than aesthetics. This artistic choice helped us to avoid mannerism and helped us reinvent by using models, trompe l’oeil, backdrops, the artificial and the abstract which we needed to achieve the timelessness of our fable.

We also looked to German expressionism for inspiration, particularly playing with shadow and light. Our aesthetic choices are in the service of praising beauty and emotion. The film’s music is a character in itself. At times minimalist, then symphonic, it is be of Russian inspiration (Korsakov, Rachmaninov). There are also bursts of traditional Iranian music, including the use of the zarb (Iranian percussion instrument) and the tar (traditional lute). Olivier Bernet, the composer of Persepolis, worked with us again on this new project.

Chicken with Plums is the second volume in a trilogy that began with Persepolis and which will end with The Eleventh Laureate. This trilogy traces several generations of a family and a country in the 20th century.

Persepolis tells the story of a family caught in the torments of war and revolution between 1974 and 1994. Chicken with Plums covers the history of this same family between 1930 and 1990. Always against a political background: the U.S. coup d’etat of the 50s, the imprisonment of Nasser’s brother Abdi (the grandfather and communist prince in Persepolis), and the female character Irane referring to the country Iran (just as France is also a woman’s first name), a symbol of a lost love and a lost dream. The Eleventh Laureate, the third volume, will address another part of this family between 1900 and 1960.

PS: Azrael is the name of the angel of death in biblical and Koranic traditions.

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain.

To view the calendar of screenings, click here.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago