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College Canteen Documentary – Iran آشپزخانه تهران

Iran Kitchen

Iran Kitchen


A polite student reviews canteen meals

Director and writer Pola Schirin Beck (Germany) reveals the mechanisms, philosophies and daily trials of a college cantina in Teheran Kitchen. Across Europe we see kebab shops often run by Iranians or Afghanis, and take little time to consider what it’s like to toil away inside every day for years on end. In this neatly subtitled short film the staff haggle at the market for herbs, creatively using cling film over two chairs to create a chasm over which to cut bread and deftly avoid being burnt while making 600 kebabs a day. The staff pray, burn myrrh at the end of the day’s work in thanks and eat together before turning out the lights come night time.  The students on the other hand complain easily and relate rumours to camera about frozen meat and hepatitis spread by the kitchen’s poor standards. This short reveals a massive class disconnect, with the most interesting shots coming from the early morning market with its hills of green herbs, and the segregated eating areas for men and women in the canteen. For Beck this film comes as a natural progression, usually her films are in German language aside from the only two shorts she has produced, the other one being Five to Six in 2005, a film about 6 people working in a large kitchen. The film touches on themes of hierarchy, pressure for time, love, jealousy and passion. Each character has “delicious” fantasies about the beautiful dishwasher Fernanda until an unexpected event turns the kitchen into a war zone.

Beck was born in Berlin in 1982. She studied international European Film College in 2003 and took up studies in directing at the “Konrad Wolf” College of Film and Television Potsdam- Babelsberg in 2005. She also works as a portrait photographer.