Friday, October 1, 2010

Soul Kitchen (Rhoades)

“Soul Kitchen” Good for the Soul

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

My son has edited such television cooking shows as “Emeril Green,” “The Paula Deen Show,” and “Big Daddy’s Kitchen.” As a result he’s learned to cook like a chef.

But no way does he plan to open a restaurant. Too many problems to deal with in the food service business. If you doubt that, go see “Soul Kitchen” – the new film at the Tropic Cinema about a discombobulated restaurant owner.

Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) is a young Greek who has a restaurant in Hamburg. But things aren’t going well. Customers don’t like the menu of his new gourmet chef (Birol Ünel). His back hurts. And his girlfriend Nadine (Pheline Roggan) has dumped him and moved to China.

He can fix the first problem by revamping the culinary selections at Soul Kitchen. He can even survive the pain of his slipped disc with the help of a pretty physiotherapist named Anna (Dorka Gryllus). But to get his girlfriend back, he’ll have to fly to Shanghai.

And the only person he can get to watch the restaurant while he’s gone is his unreliable brother Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu). Uh-oh, a bad choice.

As we might expect in a farcical comedy of errors, everything goes wrong – both with the restaurant and with Zinos’ love life.

Can he and his ex-con bro quit fighting long enough to set things right?

Although “Soul Kitchen” is a film about a restaurant, the title doesn’t refer to soul food so much as it does to soul music. Thanks to a waiter with a stolen DJ mixing console, the Soul Kitchen becomes a local hot spot for music.

Writer-director Fatih Akin’s love for American soul music permeates the film. “I was looking for the right sound, the right soundtrack. It was not like it was just my favorite music and I wanted to share that with people, it was also really dependent on the material. The idea was to do a film about Hamburg, and Hamburg is really very much a soul place. There is a huge club scene for soul music there, much more than in other cities.”

He adds, “Another reason we decided to use soul was that people in East Germany often have this strong identification with African American culture. In a way it’s because they are a minority so they identify with other minorities. This identification expresses itself in the music these people are into, the soul music from the ’60s and ’70s.”

Akin describes the film as personal and nostalgic. “I wanted to portray the city, and I wanted to share the city with people outside, but at the same time I always knew that people in Hamburg, in my hometown, would see the film, too. I had to be careful not to be too realistic,” he says. “I was looking for places which had a history for me personally. It was a chance to preserve something, to hold them in time, like a photo album. It is a bit like time traveling, or archeology.”

Or going down a musical memory lane.
[from Solares Hill]

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