Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Fish Fall in Love - Another Iranian Film about a Woman Owned Restaurant

We saw an Iranian film at Out North last night The Fish Fall In Love (Mahiha Ashegh Mishavand) by Ali Raffi. The main focus was a restaurant run by a woman and her female helpers. It was a delightful film - it was good we ate before we went because the food looked fantastic. (There's a trailer for the movie in the link. J wanted to go eat after the movie at the seaside fish shack in the trailer. Me too. But that is NOT the main restaurant in the movie.)

We recently saw another Iranian film -Border Cafe - with a woman owning a restaurant. I don't want to jump to conclusions based on two films, but given how few Iranian films we get to see, I'm guessing this is more than a coincidence. Both films took place far outside Tehran. In the first film, a woman starts the restaurant after her husband dies and she doesn't want to move into her brother-in-law's compound. In last night's movie, the woman starts the restaurant when her beau disappears, and she apparently (since that wasn't shown) moved into his abandoned house where she has the restaurant until he reappears some 20 years later (which is where the movie begins.)

As I said when I wrote about Border Cafe, while Iran is a major topic of our national foreign policy makers, Americans have precious little contact with what is going on in Iraq. These two films, by Iranian film makers, give us a relatively non-political glimpse of life in Iran today. I think most Americans would be surprised at how 'normal' things look. I think about when we were in China. I heard the story about how the Chinese government began allowing American films on television reasoning people would see how violent and decadent the US was. Well, viewers saw the gangsters and druggies, but they also saw inside people's houses and that everyone had a car. These films give a similar view into Iran.

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