Cooking History

Cooking History
               Genre: Documentary
  What slant for an idea. And what a crazy film as well. The Slovak director Peter Kerekes is dedicated to its impressive documentation Cooking History of the military and field chefs and highlights their work in various wars and conflicts of the 20th Century. The result is a film, as he sees far too rarely: Cooking History is cruel and funny at the same time, he shows great story and little anecdotes, seasoned with sly and staged a whole series of unusual ingredients.

After an epilogue that is located in the Chechen conflict, Kerekes began his broadsheet in the Second World War, tell of the baker and a German, a Russian cook ravishing of their problems and tasks during the great slaughter of the people and the way to cook. Other stations are History of Cooking, the uprising in Hungary and the Prague Spring, which are both suppressed by force of arms, the Algerian war and the Yugoslav conflict, which is illuminated from the same three kinds. What is clear from these episodes: armies are like a giant organism, which incorporated not only countries but also huge quantities of food, especially meat. If this body is not hungry enough, fed, art of war is all in vain. Cooking and eating are such metaphors of war and the tricks of the cooks to acts that so many tactical and strategic maneuvers are far more important in the shade.

For all the playfulness and sometimes directed at narcissism be quite and not at all unusual concept saves the film with sharp images: The phrase of “No animals were harmed for shooting this film, one can usually read the credits on work from Hollywood, not found here. Instead, Peter Kerekes shows how a cow’s head is cut off by soldiers, he shows the desperate fight against the impending slaughter of a pig and a rooster in the last moments before he vin the path towards the Coq au compete.

The absurdity of war and cruelty, the surprisingly cheerful memories of times of hardship and of killing, ironically interspersed with recipes for whole companies of soldiers, always ending with the words “… and a pinch of salt” and staged scenes, which sometimes almost reminiscent of Monty Python gags, forming an unusual puzzle where Peter Kerekes concocted what they saw as yet nowhere else: not only man’s heart is through his stomach, but also the war. Even more regrettable that precisely the epilogue may add to this furious work is not really into the whole picture: If the cooking of a submerged submarine in the middle of rising flood submerged a last meal for the crew prepared to go not only the chips in the Bathing waves, even the good intentions, a worthy conclusion to this highly comical and very bizarre film to be found, is shipwrecked. But what an impressive cinematic experience on the stories behind the story hardly damaged. So playful and mischievous historical insights certainly make a lot of fun – if you have a sturdy stomach. I hope that this film at the 52st DOK Leipzig will be shown, including a regular in the German cinemas.

(Joachim Kurz)

Title: Cooking History Country of production: Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia Year of production: 2009 Length: 88 (Min) (# ) tone / language: OV

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