Chicken with Plums

This perhaps reluctantly live-action tale from Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, the creators of Persepolis, suffers from an abundance of minicingly storybookish touches. Thick with warm light and would-be poignant whimsy, it recounts the life of a “desperately melancholic” musician (Mathieu Amalric), who loses the will to live upon seeing his prize violin broken. This occurs in an inevitable quarrel with the wife (Maria de Medeiros) he can’t love because another woman (Golshifteh Farahani) once broke his heart. Paronnaud and Satrapi tend to forego subtlety, signposting deeper feelings with cutesy visual flourishes that ultimately leave the feelings seeming shallow. The cast is first rate, but the movie is so mannered that it can’t help but hold them at arm’s length. Still, it has a raconteur’s confidence, and so the story marches on, moping its way to a sorrowful but not exactly satisfying ending.