Even as Marjane Satrapi is unveiling her new film “Chicken With Plums” for North American audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Iranian-born French filmmaker already has her next project wrapped. And its style and substance is a direct result of the complicated “puzzle” that making “Plums” represented.
This surprising news came during an intimate dinner at Bottino hosted by Michael Barker of Sony Pictures Classics, which will release “Plums” in the States, for Satrapi and collaborator Vincent Paronnaud before the film’s premiere at the SVS Theater Sunday night.
Satrapi said that she shot her new film in Spain on the fly, with just a few friends and mostly improvised dialogue over 12 days in January. Its straightforward live-action narrative was a creative reaction to the complications of “Plums,” a visually stunning storybook about lost love that took years to make before finally having its premiere in Venice last year. Put simply, the new film was done “out of rage,” she says, only half-jokingly.
Done in French with Spanish non-actors, the new project involves a road trip from Valencia to Cordoba and a bit of uncharacteristic violence. That Satrapi was able to convince her husband and some other industry friends to participate is a result of her telling them they were all “going on a vacation.” Apparently, this kind of trickery is not uncommon with Satrapi, a graphic novelist, painter and author who clearly attacks the execution of her ideas with passion — and a little subterfuge. (Later, at the post-screening Q&A, Satrapi described its protagonist as like her: “extremely unbearable and charming at the same time.”
A new dodge she developed on the 12-day run-and-gun shoot was to break out the explanation, “I’m shooting a video for the birthday of my grandma.” This apparently became an effectively disarming excuse everywhere, with farmers in whose fields they were filming and with hotel management wondering why this group with the camera was telling everyone else to stay out of the pool. Anything for art.
The upshot is that the new film already has a French distributor, which is working up a teaser in time for the market at Cannes.