It was a slightly chilly day in Reykavik, Iceland with small bouts of rain and winds that breathe a shock into your system. What better way to spend the day then in a movie theater? Or as I see it, the opposite of what people did during the heatwaves in the United States prior to in-home air conditioning. On this day, Saturday the 25th, I had the pleasure of enjoying a very delightful film from Germany.
Soul Kitchen (Fatih Akin 2009 Germany)
Set in Hamburg, Germany, Soul Kitchen is a comedy of errors centered around Zinos, a small-time restaurant owner who has seen better days. His girlfriend is moving to Shanghai, his restaurant performing below expectations, and his parolee brother causes him the occasional amount of grief. To make matters worse, he injures his back causing a herniated disc, making it impossible for him to cook. Adding to the already full plate he has is a childhood friend who is set on purchasing the land the restaurant sits upon and he will stop at nothing to make it his own. Poor Zinos, he just cannot seem to catch a break. Thankfully this adds up to a great amount of comedy for the viewer as we watch him stumble through the multiple trials put in front of him.
The solution to having no chef is the hiring of a crazy gypsy chef who can throw a knife faster than you can blink. So long to the frozen, fried food of Soul Kitchen’s past and hello to fancier fare that brings people in by the droves. Add live music and a DJ to the mix and Zinos finally looks to have succeeded in his work life. But this is not a film about the achievement, it is about the unexpected pitfalls along the way and with each success Zinos encounters something new crops up to put an end to the happy ever after scenario.
Soul Kitchen is what may be referred to as a playful jaunt of a film. It has heart and soul throughout and never falters in entertaining the viewer. Zinos, as well as the rest of the misfit cast, are developed enough to where we care about their goings on and futures but even in the most dire of situations the tone always remains light. This is a comedy, focusing on the humor that comes with bad situations as well as the greatness that occurs when people come together to make successes happen. Zinos may be a tragic hero but it is his good soul that keeps the viewer happily engaged with him throughout the film.
This film was screened at the Reyjkavek International Film Festival, 2010.
Director: Fatih Akin
Producers: Fatih Akin, Klaus Maeck
Editor: Andrew Bird
Screenwriters: Fatih Akin, Adam Bousdoukos
Cinematography: Rainer Klausmann
Cast: Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu, Birot Unel, Anna Bederke, Pheline Roggan, Lucas Gregorowicz, Dorka Gryllus, Wotan Wilke Mohring
Production Company: Corazon International