Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Soul Kitchen

On Monday evening I was at the San Francisco International Film Festival for a showing of Soul Kitchen by the Turkish-German director Fatih Akin. It's an absurdist comedy whose focal point is a funky restaurant in Hamburg inhabited by a cast of wacky characters. For some reason I identified with the prima donna chef who was perfectly willing to chase all the customers out if they if they could not appreciate his menu. The restaurant's hapless proprietor is subjected to one random personal disaster after another, but love & fortune triumph in the end. Highly ridiculous situations arise out of nowhere, yet the charm of the movie is that none of the characters ever realize how funny it is.

The festival program director introduced the screening & expressed regret that director was unable to come in person. She also warned the audience that Soul Kitchen is completely unlike Mr. Akin's previous films, which are apparently much more intense & dark.

There are usually several screenings going on at once, & it can be confusing to figure out where you are supposed to be in line. It is advisable to be in line at least a half hour before the film starts, as the theater fills up quickly once people are let in. I would not have attended if it weren't for a friend who is such an enthusiastic film buff that he booked himself for 2 movies that were showing simultaneously. When he realized he couldn't really see both at the same time, I was the happy beneficiary. While I sat in my theater, he saw Morning, starring Jeanne Triplehorn, who he thinks will be getting a lot of attention for her performance.


The Opera Tattler said...

Gegen die Wand certainly does sound a good deal more dark than Soul Kitchen. I particularly enjoy the tagline: "Leben ist, was passiert, während du dabei bist, andere Pläne zu machen."

Axel Feldheim said...

I confess that I know nothing of Mr. Akin's other films, though everything points to Soul Kitchen being quite anomalous. It's funny that the tagline works equally well in both English & Deutsch. The movie is in very vernacular German, with a tiny bit of Greek & Turkish thrown in.