A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
The Germans have contributed a lot to the contemporary mainstream cinematic world over the years, and a familiar name amongst the populous is Fatih Akin; a German-Turkish director born and raised in Hamburg, the city in which I currently reside.
Akin is a well-known director over the globe, most notably for his 2009 picture “Soul Kitchen”; a sickly devious dark comedy that is emotional, enraging, entertaining and energising. Delving in to the true nature of food as an art form, society as a bunch of “cultural racists” and the bond between two brothers, “Soul Kitchen” is fantastic to watch on so many levels, but most importantly (for me at least) as it shows the city from a completely unique perspective and tells a very local story that can appeal to the masses.
Zinos (Adam Bousdoukas) is a German-Greek chef who runs ‘Soul Kitchen’, a popular dining vicinity that serves up sloppy deep-fried meals with mismatched cutlery and a foul mouth.
Nevertheless, it has regular customers, contrary to immediate assumption, and appears to be steadily running itself whilst showing no signs of extending the success in any way.
On a night out for dinner, Zinos oversees a heated argument between the head chef at a restaurant and an infuriating customer. The argument results in the chef being fired, and after talking with him outside, Zinos invites chef Shayn (Birol Ünel) to work at ‘Soul Kitchen’.
Shayn, with his culinary expertise, introduces Zinos to an entirely new world of cooking, changing his way of business and life in the process.
The synopsis of “Soul Kitchen” is very similar to that of 2014’s “Chef”, starring and directed by John Favrou. I believe “Chef” has taken a lot of inspiration and owes a credit to “Soul Kitchen” as it deals with similar elements of cooking being the centre of issues that span far outside the kitchen and ultimately boil down to a family-oriented plot line.
However, “Soul Kitchen” is by far in a league of it’s own as far as plot progression is concerned. It certainly doesn’t leave much up to the imagination when it comes to chaos, sex and money – nothing is euphemistically blanketed with this one…
Adam Bousdoukas is brilliant in the leading role. We love Zino, then we dislike him, then we love him again etc. Whereas Moritz Bleibtreu once again shows off his endless talents as brother Illias; the troubled, confused and highly questionable supporting character that adds a lot of the film’s drama into the mix.
There aren’t any dislikable or questionable performances in “Soul Kitchen”, just puzzling characters.
Ultimately, “Soul Kitchen” is a very enjoyable comedy that sends a lot of messages but is most enjoyable when simply witnessing chaos unfold and nothing else. It’s a rioting film that is energetic and strange, but nevertheless, a heartfelt picture.
It is obvious why this is Akin’s most noteworthy film – it is definitely worth a go, and maybe even a second helping.
Recommended By Christa Lösch & Astrid Bohn