This film is about boxes of soup, about seeds and roots and the soft moss under our feet. And consequently, it is a film about what it means to be human.
A box of soup
In the 1980s, science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin wrote a short essay with a beautiful title: The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction. In it, she argues that early humans were primarily gatherers of berries, fruits, grains and seeds. The image that we have of a hunter, a wielder of spears, a slayer of mammoths, may well dominate our collective conscience, but it is flawed. The first cultural artefact was not a spear, says Le Guin, but a vessel. A bowl, a carrier bag, a woven net, a pouch in which to carry back home all those seeds and nuts and leaves. But this sack, or pouch, and its (his)story, lost out to the more heroic image of the mammoth slayer wielding a spear. A very masculine image underpinning a masculine narrative.
Le Guin counters this proposition with a more feminine narrative. Moving away from that heroic image, to search for stories of cooperation, of sharing, of gathering. Because it is that hoarding, that stockpiling and sharing that really defines us as humans. I love that image!
It was after reading this essay that the film I was trying to write really began to fall into place. The narrative was a simple one: a man who is going away for a while empties his fridge and makes a soup with the vegetables that would otherwise go rotten. He then distributes that soup to his friends and family. This film is about boxes of soup, about seeds and roots and the soft moss under our feet. And consequently, it is a film about what it means to be human.