Berlinale: Programme

Film file

Culinary Cinema

Festins imaginaires

Imaginary Feasts

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In Nazi concentration camps, in Soviet labour camps, in Japanese war camps, deportees and prisoners wrote cooking recipes; hundreds, thousands of them. Men as well as women, young and elderly, of all nationalities… took risks to produce a literature that may appear trivial, but that reveals an incredible and universal act of resistance. Most of these notebooks remained in families’ hideouts for decades. Imaginary Feasts tells of five recipe collections written in Ravensbrück by Edith Peer, in Leipzig by Christiane Hingouet, a French freedom fighter and in Flöha concentration camp by a group of French men led by Marcel Letertre. The "recipe booklet" drawn in Potma’s Gulag by Vera Bekzadian, wife of a Stalin opponent, is made of fabric. And during his time as POW in Kawasaki, Sergeant Warren Stewart recorded the food he craved on 175 pages. Beyond the story of their writing, the film explores with researchers the meaning of these imaginary feasts. Are they shared memories, dreams, testaments, plans for the future? Why and how did the sharing of these recipes become a universal act of resistance? Food for the body, food for thought, food for soul.

France / Belgium 2014, 69 min


Anne Georget