The director’s mother-in-law is standing at the kitchen table kneading meatballs big as a child’s head. She doesn’t approve of food processors: “It tastes better if you use your hands. I haven’t washed them for two years. Imagine all the vitamins they contain.” The husband enters the kitchen where his mother is sitting at the table peeling eggs. He does not seem to have an appetite for minced meat and vine leaves. “He likes it when I cook pizza”, his wife moans: “For 35 years now I have been living not only with my husband, but with his whole family too. His father and his mother, his sister, her children, her husband and five children…”
The documentary film maker Mohammed Shirvani shot in five kitchens of his relatives and in his own one, too. It is always the women standing at the stove, sometimes alone, sometimes with relatives. The tone is none too gentle.
The director’s wife is cooking in the new building’s kitchen for the film team and gives a drastic judgement on the gulf between man and woman: “As soon as the meal is over, the men lean back. The women lean forward in order to clear away the dishes. Today life has become more modern. The men do not lean back on the floor anymore, instead they settle back into their chairs. And then they talk about politics. This is the moment when you want to chop their heads off, one after the other.” Director Mohammed Shirvani resigns himself: “We are doomed forever to continue as our ancestors did.”
Looking into the Iranian kitchen, we see symptomatic images about social conflicts which are not only relevant for Iran. At the same time it makes you hungry for the food which is cooked with enthusiasm and enjoyed by the whole family.
by Mohammad Shirvani
with Koch/Chef: Thomas Kammeier