Germany, 2009, 99 minutes
Mon, Apr 26 / 6:45 / Kabuki / SOUL26K
Wed, Apr 28 / 9:30 / Kabuki / SOUL28K
For years, and to great effect, Fatih Akin has been exploring some of the darker, often violent aspects of the Turkish and Greek immigrant experience in Germany. His latest, however, is something else entirely: a deliciously overstuffed comedy that follows Zinos, the greasy, unshaven owner of a greasy and unappetizing restaurant. He’s shaggy-haired, a bit overweight and totally likable; the kind of guy who means well but can’t quite seem to catch a break. All he really wants is to run his Hamburg pub in peace. But he’s a bad cook, his taxes aren’t in order and his kitchen isn’t up to code. Plus, his girlfriend is moving to Shanghai, his ex-con brother wants a job (but would rather not actually work) and he’s about to throw out his back. Each of these unfortunate developments resolves more humorously than the last, with all the twists and turns and visual gags of a great comedy. When Zinos hires a gourmet chef with a penchant for ridiculing his unsophisticated diners, the restaurant starts to take off. A classic soul and funk soundtrack propels the action, and for a while Soul Kitchen, the restaurant, becomes the hippest concert/dining venue in Hamburg. Admirers of this skillful filmmaker will likely be surprised—and thrilled—by this unexpected comedic turn and by the obvious excitement Akin takes in offering up such a tasty morsel.
Presented with support from the Goethe-Institut San Francisco.