Iranian CookbookDastour-e Ashpazi
IRAN / 2010 / Persian / Color / Blu-ray (SD) / 72 min
Director, Script, Producer: Mohammad Shirvani
Photography: Houman Behmanesh
Editing: Mohammad Shirvani, Esmaeil Monsef
Sound: Farshid Faraji
Production Company: Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC)
World Sales: DreamLab Films
The director films seven women, all members of his immediate and extended family, who are busy preparing meals in the kitchen. A small universe is depicted through conversations and mutterings while the smell of spices, the sound of frying, and the feel of kneaded meat seem to reach beyond the screen to our senses. The series of daily occupations—how the women prepare the meal, the family meal time, and cleaning up afterwards—resembles an act of a play. Through the housewives who make splendor out of their daily lives, we get a glimpse into Iranian society.
[Director’s Statement] I must admit that Iranian Cookbook is an appreciation of Iranian women. I did not intend to make a feminist movie, but I think it was necessary to concentrate on cooking and its related issues at least once. The kitchen is a place my mother spent over 30 years in, and I never really noticed its details.
Born in Tehran in 1973, Mohammad Shirvani studied fine art at Tehran University, eventually leaving to follow his true love, the cinema. His first short, The Circle, was selected for the Critics’ Week at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Since then he has worked passionately on shorts, documentaries, and features that have been screened at festivals around the world.
He was for several years president of the Independent Iranian Short Film Association (ISFA) and has remained committed to producing independent documentaries and shorts. He attracted the participation and support of the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam to produce Navel in 2003 and President Mir Qanbar in 2005 (Award of Excellence, YIDFF 2005). Seven Blind Women Filmmakers (2008) was shown in YIDFF 2009. His passion for filmmaking continues.