In the Picture

Soul Kitchen

Directed by Fatih Akin

Rated MA

Director/co-writer Fatih Akin is a multi award-winning film maker. Born in Hamburg to Turkish parents, his films often deal with the lives of German Turks and the fascinating confusions about the two cultures. Best known for his more dramatic productions such as The Edge of Heaven and Head On, Soul Kitchen is a more relaxed and warm-hearted movie, an engaging and entertaining comedy, with a very broad multicultural sweep.

Zinos (Adam Bousdoukus) owns a modest restaurant in a warehouse in a working class part of Hamburg. The restaurant serves plain and cheap food to its regular clientele. His well-to-do girlfriend Nadine (Pheline Roggan) is leaving to work in China, and, desperate to rejoin her, Zinos hires a fiery and knife-throwing gypsy chef Shayn (Birol Unel); and signs over management to his beloved brother Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu), a hopeless gambler and thief, who is on day leave from gaol. Shayn’s fine food menu empties the restaurant, until a new scene of ‘haute cuisine’, live bands and DJ dance parties turns the restaurant into a major attraction.

Throw in the eccentric crew of a sultry waitress Lucia (Anna Bederke), plus musicians, tax and health inspectors, and a shonky developer Neumann (Wotan Wilke Mohring), as ever, wanting to bulldoze the old dockside area and ride the greedy wave of urban renewal.

There is not much plot to the film as it follows the mishaps of the two brothers, Zinos and Illias, and most of Soul Kitchen is set in the restaurant, but the film is rich with characters and personalities, including the beautiful physiotherapist Anna (Dorka Gryllus), who engages an alternative chiropractor to deal with Zinos’ excruciating back problems.

Soul Kitchen is an intoxicating cultural cocktail…German, Turkish, Greek, food, sex and music. The film features a vast and outstanding soundtrack of soul music, blues, folk music, trance, dance and hip hop.

Bousdoukus, who co-wrote the film with Akin, is a long-time friend of the director, as well as appearing in most of his films; he also managed a Greek taverna in Hamburg for many years, which was a second home to Akin and their circle.

The film is warm-hearted in Akin’s apparent fondness for the changing cultural landscape of his hometown Hamburg, while also satirising the ruthless redevelopment of the ‘old’ city.

A most enjoyable multicultural comedy.

Soul Kitchen, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, is the final film in Norpa’s Autumn Popcorn series, sponsored by The Echo and will be screened at Star Court Theatre on Sunday 6 June at 6pm.

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