Monday, 21 May 2012

Mama's Guest (2004) @ مهمان مامان Mehmane Maman

"This cake, it is made from virgin juice. I marinated all night."
At a glance:
Iranian cinema vet Golab Abdineh plays the matriarch of a poor family. She's thrown into a tight spot - they have to welcome her policeman nephew and his bride but they haven't got a single morsel of food in the house! Like the old school Hitchcock movies, we're given a slow introduction to the characters, some of which include her cinema projectionist husband Yousef (Paras Pirouzfar), her naughty young son Amir, her daughter Bahareh (Melika Sharifinia), and neighbourin busybodies like a chemist (Amin Hayayee) and an old hag (Farideh Sepah Mansour). Simply to give the good colonel (he's just a sergeant, really) and his exquisite wife a feast, everybody puts their wits together and overcomes adversity in charmin ways. Not dissimilar to the Asian values of pride and "face" as incessantly repeated in the film, this tight-knit family is so enamoured with preparation and procedure that they become instantly likeable, although it may take longer than usual to relate to their culture of halvas and curious posters of bodybuilders on their walls.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Not for everyone, obviously.
Perennial wonderment:
When you watch a movie like Mama's Guest (2004) @ مهمان مامان Mehmane Maman, you'd realise why fast food culture in the 20th century completely destroyed the family as a unit of society. From the process of pickin out the freshest fish to peelin onions and boilin water, home cookin is one of the last bastions of family time that ensured everyone had somethin to do and somethin to talk to each other about. When you place a phone order for McDonald's Value Meals, that old time tradition becomes a bygone relic. That's why Mama's Guest is still a rewardin watch despite appearin very dated for a 2004 film.
Reminds me of:
Cookin pork feet in vinegar with me gran, God rest her soul. Of course, no pork was depicted in this movie about Moslem people.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Three stars. Mama's Guest is a New Year movie - fun and easy to watch. With quirky scenes like an operation on a goldfish to wife-beatin antics by a drug addict, one may find this movie to be just the sort of light entertainment that is interestin enough to stimulate Hollywood-hardened cinematic taste buds. For further readin, please see what this Mongoose guy wrote.

Trailer for the curious: