To Home Page of Echoworld Communications
To Home Page of Echo Germanica
August 2010 - Nr. 8

Invitational screening:

Monday – August 9 – 7:00 pm

Varsity Cinemas – 55 Bloor St. West – Toronto


DVD screeners are also available for review purposes.

Fatih Akin’s Soul Kitchen – which won both the Special Jury Prize and the Young Cinema Award at the 2009 Venice Film Festival – tells the story of a restaurant owner who strives to keep his business, despite a series of mishaps. Unlike Akin’s previous Head-On and The Edge of Heaven, this film takes on a humorous bent, including a scene that results in an orgy after the chef overdoses the dessert with an aphrodisiac.

The story is set in Wilhelmsburg, a working-class neighborhood in Hamburg that is becoming gentrified. Young Greek-German Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) owns the Soul Kitchen restaurant that has always attracted a locals-only crowd who love schnitzels and beer. But lately Zinos has been down on his luck. He’s hurt his back, his girlfriend has moved to Shanghai, and customers are boycotting his new gourmet chef.

Things start looking up when a hip crowd embraces his revamped culinary concept, but that still doesn’t mend Zino’s broken heart. He decides to fly to China, leaving the restaurant in the hands of his ex-con brother. Yet nothing turns out the way he expects.

Along with Bousdoukos (Head-On, Short Sharp Shock), there are many actors from Akin’s films, including Moritz Bleibtreu (Solino, In July) as Zinos’s brother, Birol Ünel (Head-On, In July) as the new chef, and Demir Gökgöl (Head-On) as Zino’s cantankerous tenant. Three dynamic women also star – Pheline Roggan as Zinos’s girlfriend, Dorka Gryllus as his physiotherapist, and Anna Bederke as his waitress.

The film is reminiscent of a “Heimatfilm” (i.e. homeland film), a typical German genre made popular in the 1950s. It’s about friendship, love and a village-like community – i.e. the Soul Kitchen restaurant. Whether you are a Greek-German like Zinos, or a Turkish-German like Fatih Akin, home is where you feel comfortable.

As for music, there’s soul (from funky instrumentals with Kool & The Gang to classical R&B tracks by Sam Cooke), Hamburg hip hop and electro sounds, live rock music, Greek rembetiko, and a de rigueur  DJ-set. And what’s a “heimatfilm” without a song by Hans Albers, one of the top German actor-singers in the ’30s and ’40s?

The film is directed by Fatih Akin, who also co-wrote the script with Adam Bousdoukos. It is in German and some Greek with English subtitles.

Soul Kitchen is being released in Canada by Mongrel Media.


To the top of the page