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  • Director Faith Akin is often called one of the most important contemporary German directors to have emerged in recent years. Soul Kitchen is Akin' highly anticipated first attempt at a genuine comedy. So far Akin has been has been more involved in the fields of drama and romance. In a recent interview he revealed he was curious to explore a more varied range of film genres which sounds like an interesting plan. In venice this year, the film was celebrated by the audiences and scored the special jury price.

    The story revolves around a restaurant/club called Soul Kitchen and the troublesome life of its respectful owner Zinos. He has to overcome many struggles involving his girlfriend, his brother and the authorities. The film is set in the heart of the diverse northern German city of Hamburg, the home turf of the two scribes Faith Akin and Adam Bousdoukos.

    The makers of the film call it a new take on the idea of the "Heimatfilm" - a rather preconceived loose genre which basically defines a film to have been made in the makers home country and dealing with issues relating to home and identity.

    Akin described how he studied classical sketches by Charlie Chaplin and also looked at his method of working. A simple "joke" that comes off easy and natural on screen had been reworked over and over. For some of the scenes Akin admittedly said he had to shoot 30 takes before it felt right. This made him doubt his own abilities but in the end let him grow as a filmmaker and as an individual.

    The result is a stellar solid performance by the entire cast. Many jokes and payoffs will unfortunately and without a doubt get lost in translation but still the timing and heartblood of the actors will still capture anyone's attention.

    Akin makes use of a couple of his "regulars": Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu and the great Birol Ünel but also introduces fresh unknown blood with the two female leads Lucia Faust and Nadine Krüger.

    Having just seen another film recently I noticed myself how well this film is balanced out in comparison. There is a rhythm, a beat or a harmony. The soundtrack and editing allow the plot to flow organically and let the narrative play out smoothly. Interestingly Akin once mentioned that since "Gegen die Wand" (Head On, 2004) he is inspired by the songs used in his films in a visual way and sets out a soundtrack before the filming is finished.

    The film marks Akin's first shot at wider levels of improvisation. Normally, he said in an interview with a German radio station, he has the script all planned out in detail; all the actors know what their dialogues are and maybe one or two things get changed, with feedback from the people on set but this time a lot of things were left undone on purpose to grow naturally out of the situations.

    What I personally enjoyed a lot about Soul Kitchen is the way in which the film addresses its urban environment. Akin took a chance to shoot in a wide range of locations, many of which such the club "Mojo" have since closed down. It attempts to capture the spirit of the city at a point in time and successfully tells an emotional, personal story.

    Recommended to anyone with a passion for fresh, clever and funny stories of life and the city.
  • anonaki14 January 2010
    It very rare these times to see a comedy that is not slapstick -funny (trying to extort in some ways the laughter from the audiences) but truly funny in a way that is sweet and charming. I will not talk about the director's previous work because this is a completely new genre for him, and in any case this is not an overall overview of his films. This one stands alone as an example for some people in Hollywood. It is not funny because it exploits some racial stereotypes (no mousaka here) but because it creates a subtle caricature of situations that many of us have experienced (i.e. the one with the tax collectors). The script is very smart and full of reversals of fate that keep the spectators on their toes, the main characters are interesting and the acting wonderful... And because no one mentioned the soundtrack...It is truly unique..Too bad that many of the songs are in Greek and the deeper meaning of the lyrics and their connection to the plot is lost in translation. A must see film for everyone that wants to see a feel-good movie with an actual plot..
  • Faith Akin is best known for his dark, serious films ('Head On', 'The Edge of Heaven', 'Short Sharp Shock', 'Crossing the Bridge: The Sounds of Istanbul', etc) so it is somewhat surprising to find he has such a deft touch for comedy. SOUL KITCHEN languished for a while before Akin decided that 'life is not only about pain and introspection', and so he turned his rather formidable talents to creating this new film - a comedy about food, family and gentrification. He co-wrote the script with star Adam Bousdoukos in a manner that mirrors his other works: people from other countries (Akin is Turkish raised in Germany, Bousdoukos is Greek raised in Germany) can assimilate without losing the unique treasured aspects of their ethnicity.

    The setting is Hamburg where Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) owns a grungy but popular with the locals restaurant, Soul Kitchen, serving quickly prepared frozen foods to a gastronomically unsophisticated clientele. Zinos is also a romantic, struggling with his conflict to join his journalist girlfriend Nadine (Pheline Roggan) who wants Zinos to accompany her to her latest living assignment in Shanghai, but being afraid to leave his beloved restaurant. Zinos decides to stay in Hamburg -opening the door for other factors to enter Zinos' life: he encounters a fired chef Shayn (Birol Ünel) whose cranky disposition can't hide the fact that he is a brilliant chef in need of work (Zinos hires him!), an old friend Thomas Neumann (Wotan Wilke Möhring) who has become a real estate entrepreneur want to buy Zinos' old building, Zinos' ne're-do-well brother Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu) is in prison but can get leaves if Zinos with be his patron for a work-release program, a new crowd of jazz music lovers and partygoers flood the premises, etc. All of these ingredients, including the staff of the restaurant Lucia (Anna Bederke), funky old Sokrates (Demir Gökgöl), and Lutz (Lukas Gregorowicz), blend together to produce harrowing but hilarious results. In the end the transformations of Soul Kitchen emphasize the importance of family and living a dream, and the despite the many pratfalls Zinos encounters, the changes all come out in the wash for the better.

    This cast manages to exude a love for life that makes the move soar above others, despite the usual at times crude jokes and situations. It just bubbles, and a fine part of that effervescence is from the music score.

    Grady Harp
  • Great movie, fast and fresh, the kind of fun the movies are supposed to be.

    The characters are real and dynamic, the sites are beautiful, interiors and exteriors, although in industrial area, they feel warm and cozy after some time.

    The action never loses pace.

    I am trying to find now other movies from the same director and/or lead actor.

    It is refreshing in a way Guy Ritchie is, you wait for the next movie because you expect the same feeling.
  • marlon_pohl15 December 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    Like always, Akin creates lovely characters. For a German it is fun to see Bleibtrue as a "typical German immigrant-part-time-criminal-hustler" talking the talk you'll recognize when u walk through Hamburg St. Pauli. Its just that the characters and the movie share the same problem: No deepness at all. Everything remains facile and this is why i never found a way into the movie. The story takes quiet stupid turns (contract lost, swallowing the button, dancing school fills the restaurant) that make the movie more seem like a fairytale (which would be okay if i had the feeling that is what Akin wanted). The humor in the movie is flat and predictable, some scenes id even call cheapest slapstick only kids up to 10 years could laugh at (funeral scene). The cook had a lot of potential, but is way too overdrawn...AND I STILL WONDER WHY THE HELL THERE WAS THIS ORGYSCENE ? ? ? It nearly got me leaving the cinema. What i liked was the soundtrack, the beautiful images of Hamburg and the little unimportant dialogues between certain characters. These were the only moments this movie seemed as "real" to me as Akin movies usually do.

    I apologise for my English...
  • This movie was a "delicious" movie with a "soul".l recommend this movie to everyone who would like to go to the movies just for having a 1,5 hour of fun and who needs some hope about life. This movie was the best and funniest movie of Faith Akin, l think he will be a world famous director in a couple years if he keeps to continue. The favorite three of Faith Akin (Adam Bousdoukus,Moritz Blibtreu and Birol Unel)were great again.l would like to also mention about Anna Bederke's performance, l think she was also acting great and she will be a famous movie star soon. The only thing which l can criticize is the ending of the movie, it was in compliance with the scenario however l felt that the ending was incomplete and carelessly done. The jokes and the movie itself were great and clever.l recommend this movie to everyone who would like to watch something different and delicious in the cinema.
  • Faith Akin, the director, presents a beautiful Hamburg, creates again diverse and strong characters, in a film that returns him to the genre of comedy, and all of these surrounded with an amazing soundtrack. I enjoyed very much this film, the scenography and music is lovely, I could laugh a lot, which is not very common in the recent Akin films such as Gegen die Wand or The Edge of Heaven, which were exquisite, but in a more dramatic and touching way. This film is somehow a return to the soul of much more than a kitchen. Is a sight into the soul of music, food, purpose in life and people indeed. I highly recommend this film, especially for those who, like me, had a great time seeing Im Juli, some years ago.
  • With films like Against the Wall, Crossing the Bridge and The Edge of Heaven, Faith Akin has set a high aesthetic bar at which his newest work inevitably stumbles. Which is not to say that the film is a failure by any means, simply that it must be judged as a minor work in this impressive directors oeuvre.

    Set in Hamburg's seedy demi-monde, the film relates the fortunes of the Soul Kitchen restaurant and its unhappy-go-lucky proprietor, with a protein-rich narrative arc from wretched normality through multiple adversities to a slightly more hopeful normality. And while the restaurant moves up-scale gastronomically the story remains comfort food throughout, providing plenty of opportunities for comic set pieces and tragi-comic misunderstandings.

    What we end up with is a patchwork of scenes, connected by a narrative strand that connects property speculation, prostitution, drugs and music. None of it quite makes sense, but this is a film ruled by the heart and not the head. What it lacks in precision it makes up for in warmth.

    In general the performances are impressive, and the unavoidable Moritz Bleibtreu (who seems to be compulsory casting in any German film worth its salt) is particularly engaging as the protagonist's jailbird brother, constantly swinging his prayer beads as hustles.

    The film's lightness of touch is perhaps its saving grace: the music complements the story without dominating; food and cookery play a subordinate, if enjoyable role, but never do we get too bogged down in the niceties of nouvelle cuisine. And this must be the first major film in which Skype plays such a major role. Product placement perhaps but very realistically done.

    Another enjoyable aspect is the way in which the interplay of cultures - Greek, Turkish, German, whatever - is handled in a no-nonsense workmanlike way. Perhaps it takes a German of Turkish extraction to do this. My feeling is that other German directors would be more sheepish in their handling of these issues.

    In conclusion I'd say that the film is good, not great, and shows that Faith Akin can also make a gentle, feel-good comedy without compromising his higher aesthetic achievements.
  • You could be excused, if by hearing the title, you'd thought this is yet another "urban" comedy, starring Martin Lawrence or Ice Cube or Queen Latifah. It ain't so. While the title might be misleading (in quite a few ways), the characters in this aren't. You have finely structured people (with a cliché here and there), who seem to have their everyday problems and find a way to live with them.

    Our main character has quite a few struggles to go through this movie, some of them come "back" at him (no pun intended). And while quite a few things are more than cliché (the brother and what he does towards the end, is borderline believable, even with the setup through the movie), it has quite a few nice touches to it. All in all, a warm comedy, that goes more for the heart than the brain. A nice change of pace by Faith Akin and a movie, whose flaws shouldn't hinder you enjoying it.
  • The reason I picked this up was that I had read/heard somewhere that this had inspired the movie 'Ustad Hotel' in 'malayalam' which I had enjoyed.

    Having seen excellent movies like The Trap/Troubled Water/L' Infante recently, I was not extremely impressed by this one but at the same time the movie is young and lovable.

    There are some original humor sequences.You may like the movie a whole lot or the movie may not touch you at all - depending on your frame of mind while you watch this.

    I liked the main protagonist of the movie. The back ache that he carries through out movie somehow aches your back as well while you watch the movie!. He goes easy on various people - letting his employees practice music in his dying restaurant , letting his tenant stay off rent , letting his brother run the business etc.That is how the main protagonist has been built.

    The movie is filled with short easy sequences - a nice watch.
  • This frothy, light, slightly shapeless but endearing comedy is further proof of the protean nature of Akin's amazing talents.

    While nowhere near as good a film as his great, dark comedy-drama 'Head On' or his complex. philosophical 'The Edge of Heaven', I appreciate that Akin seems more interested in exploring different genres and stories than creating a signature style.

    This is the kind of comedy that makes you smile more than laugh, and is stronger on character and acting than on comic set pieces, but even the jokes that don't work aren't annoying.

    A shaggy, likable young Greek man living in Germany tries to start his own restaurant, juggling his ex-con brother, his out-of town girlfriend, his slightly insane chef, and a rival who wants to take over his space. It's not an 'important' film, but it captures something wonderful about being young and trying to find your place in the world.
  • This film started so well that it was beginning to look like a hidden gem, a classic in the making. I give this film 5 stars out of 10, but I have to say that the 5 stars are for the first 30 minutes, which were so well done. The remaining 60 minutes deserve a zero.

    The comedy is not funny. Slapstick and cheap laughs. Everything is so predictable that we were trying to take bets on the story in the middle of the film, but no one wanted to take any bets. We were all on the same page and guess what? Every single thing we predicted happened. Predicting one thing or another is fine, but not everything.

    The movie just drags and drags without direction. You're not sure if it's a story of two Greek brothers, a story of a couple, a story of another couple or a story of a restaurant and a rag-tag team of staff that turn a failure around.

    Everything is so contrived you wouldn't believe it. Sometimes in life you can make decisions or take actions that COULD lead to something bad happening. There is that risk in life. But in this film characters take "chances" that almost guarantee an unwanted event. As in, the director wants this event to happen so he has to find a sure-fire way to make it happen. So the characters take actions to ensure this event, even though it is not in their personality to do so.

    The expression Americans now use is "because script." People do things that don't make any logical sense in their world, but it makes sense "because script" says so. There was also one bit of incredibly amateur screen writing - a character in another country knew a piece of information that (s)he could not have known in real life (unless they had access to the script somehow!).

    The music scenes are too long, some reviewers say "the female characters are flat and without depth" - well you gotta take a closer look at the male characters, friends, because they're cardboard caricatures just the same.

    The cinematography and camera work were really good. Locations too. But you can't get too many points for that.

    It's a wanna-be feel-good movie that fails terribly at making you feel good or at entertaining you in most ways.

    Hopefully someone takes the idea from the first 30 minutes and does something else with it.
  • Rindiana28 August 2010
    Likable and fast-moving feel-good tragicomedy which sometimes veers closely toward those annoyingly busy and loud German comedies with their succession of silly and overcooked set-pieces, based on all too well-known clichés.

    The predictable plot surely breaks no new ground and strains credulity from time to time, but at least it's all in good spirit. The actors find the right balance between comedy stereotyping and character drama and the soundtrack and location work are especially fine.

    Just like all of Akin's "lighter" pics, this one's easy to digest but doesn't call for a second course.

    6 out of 10 knife throwing chefs
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It was a great film to watch. Nice and easygoing, although in the middle i really thought it goes like in "requiem for a dream" to a really bad end. But then I realized it's a comedy and comedies don't have bad ends... :) So it happened, everything turned fine, not with Nadine, not in China, not as it was planned. But with a the bone cracking Kemal and a new girlfriend suggested by the old one.

    Faith Akin's contemporary cast Birol Ünel was also great as the "mad" cook with principles.

    Every piece of puzzle came together and at the end you leave with a big smile on your face thinking it could last for another half an hour and I still would sit here and watch the movie.
  • Toned down a bit in the sex and drugs area this could probably make a terrific kids film. It's a very obvious, ham-fisted fairy tale, which moves at a cracking pace, and rejoices in cartoon characters, plotting and visuals. That's not to say that kids only like their entertainment ham- fisted, but Soul Kitchen is a very basic romp, in which most of the cast are way over the top, and enjoying themselves enormously - often more than the audience. One of the major problems for me is that Herr Bleibtreu simply isn't funny. And there's too much of him not being funny, and not being - even for an instant - credibly Greek. It's good to see Udo Keir in a minor role, and being commendably restrained (what else could he do - surrounded by all the scenery chewing and eye-popping from his colleagues?) Nevertheless, this is a very well- meant 5 course meal, with lashings of sauce. You may wish that some of the jokes could not have been quite so overcooked, but you'll not leave the cinema bloated.
  • The men, especially Moritz Bleibtreu, come across lively and funny in this new comedy by Faith Akin, while the women remain pale and flavorless. Most jokes, slapstick scenes and scenario twists looked so familiar to me that they provoked a déjà-vu yawn. Dialogues are stiff like in a freshmen theater, many scenes just unbelievably predictable and even unrealistic (e.g. when the main character, innkeeper Zino, is arrested and drops the corpus delicti - a robbed contract - in front of the police, which lets it being blown away by the wind).

    The good cooking that takes place doesn't make you hungry, though, as it does in some of Akin's ante types for this aspect of the film (e.g. Eat Drink Man Woman). One may argue that Akin wanted to produce a satire, as a relief from all the serious and heavy stuff he has delivered in the past. But this genre would be even more demanding and as a satire the movie would not merit more than 1 out of 10.

    Akin was apparently more absorbed by his obvious (self-imposed or factual) obligation to show his home town Hamburg from its most picturesque sides, including old and modern backdrops and sceneries, which certainly indemnified the Hamburg Tourist Board for any sum it might have contributed.

    When you keep in mind that Akin is of Turkish origin and that Soul Kitchen is mainly situated in the Greek community of Hamburg, you might suggest that the film is a peace-offering to the other ethnicity, which in many cases still has hostile feelings against the Turks. This is also symbolized in the final scene, in a way that would spoil the movie if I would tell it here.

    All in All: Wait for the next, certainly fine Akin film, if you have a choice between seeing this movie or doing something else.
  • I was mesmerized when I watched Head-On back in 2005. It was like a gift as I had not come across with such warm and impressive story especially from Turkish film industry. (Faith Akin is not promoting Turkish cinema 100% but still counts). The Edge of Heaven followed this and it was still an enjoyable movie despite its flaws. I really like Soul Kitchen as this is the first comedy made by the director but it will not be my favourite.

    A guy is running a restaurant which serves ready-to-cook stuff and not doing well at all. He is also having personal problems since his girlfriend is moving to China for business purposes. All of a sudden everything changes and his restaurant becomes a big success and trendiest place in town with the touch of a gypsy cook. Then he makes money, his life changes blah blah blah.

    Soul Kitchen is not offering a new thing but still has its funny moments. The lead character Adam Bousdoukos is excellent in his role and also Ugur Yucel (Knochenbrecher-Kemal) is so funny with his precious presence in the movie, the rest I have to say that do not add much on to the movie in relation to comedy. They more seem like they are in a drama which unfortunately how Faith Akin directs his film. The scenario was not up to his standards (things happen too fast). My examples the restaurant was not that bad although the food was awful. but business-wise it had a client base and they seemed to be regular. his brother loses everything in one evening although he knows its his only chance to be out of the prison. Restaurant being very popular and it does not seem it becomes very convenient because it serves good food but also for being conveniently located for the students nearby art school.

    My main concern about the film is that I watched it as if I was watching another Faith Akin drama but this time forcing you to laugh. I hope Mr. Akin made this movie for fun and will come back with an excellent drama very soon.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Soul Kitchen" is one of German director Faith Akin's more recent movies. This one runs for 100 minutes, came out 6 years ago and features mostly Greek characters living in Germany. Certainly a nice little story featuring Akin's Turkish roots. The lead actor and co-writer is Adam Bousdoukos and he plays his part well. Still, he is not half as famous as the likes of Bleibtreu, Möhring, Ünel, Kier, Lohmeyer, Imboden or Fedder who all also appear in this one, some in bigger roles, some in really small roles. The main character certainly has to go through a lot here: health struggles, financial issues, legal problems and, last but not least, he also is in a romantic relationship without perspective. However, even with all these negative factors, this is never a depressing film, but an uplifting, because it shows that with the right people by your side, you can overcome everything.

    There are also many funny moments in here, like Ünel's performance, the one at the end of the auction, or the Bonebreaker guy. Pretty much a character right out of a Tarantino movie, basically Winston Wolf with a license to practice as a doctor. It's tough for me to truly enjoy this movie or see something extremely memorable in here. Probably not among the very best Germany has come up with in terms of film in the last 10 years, but I thought it was an enjoyable watch with a very likable main character who works as a restaurant owner. Recommended, especially if you like dramedy that have multi-cultural aspects included. In this area, it is certainly among the best Germany has to offer and on par with the many films on this issue that come from France. All kinds of nice music is in here as well. Pretty good script too. It is over-the-top on some occasions, but in a delightful manner and never embarrassing. Thumbs up for Akin, Bousdoukos and "Soul Kitchen".
  • Awared with Special Jury Award in Venice Film Vestival "Soul Kitchen" is one of the best Faith Akin movies (2nd best after "Gegen die Wand" in my book) and an excellent mixture of comedy and drama. The German/Turkish well known director features in Soul Kitchen a story filmed in Hamburg with a strong Greek element. The film depicts excellently life in Hamburg (which is one of the most different and great German cities) in a story that unlike most of Faith Akin's films is not too sad and is in fact quite funny. Moritz Bleibtreu is as always a safe and good choice and in few words this film will probably (if you have some sense of humor) leave you with a big smile in your face.

    Grade: A-
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is an example of an emerging genre in film, in which the characters act as if they are completely uprooted from any normal or traditional behavioural or psychological frameworks (lots of shouting and hysterical goings on, apparently unmotivated behaviour, casual and meaningless sex and violence, and the like), yet there is, strangely enough, a structure and a harmony that emerges at the end. It's almost like a comic book whose heroes have steroid pumped muscles, chiselled faces, speak in and represent clichés of good and evil, yet it makes sense. There is no moralising here in this tale of an uneducated Greek restaurant (more of a greasy spoon, at the beginning) owner in Hamburg, one of the toughest and grittiest of German cities, which is used quite effectively as a backdrop that highlights the somewhat confused and direction-less behaviour of the protagonists. The contrasts are numerous and almost clichéd: his brother is an unsuccessful thief, he is improbably in love with an aristocratic journalist who leaves him to his fate while she goes on assignment in China, he has a non rent paying old Greek fisherman tenant in his wharf side restaurant, a would be artist waitress, a world class blues-soul band who uses his restaurant in which to practice yet can't find a gig. You get the idea. In the middle of this apparent chaos, a few human feelings slowly emerge, between the brothers, between the waitress and the thief, between the Greek and his Turkish masseuse, even, after they break up, between the Greek and his ex, who does the decent thing and lends a large sum to the Greek so he can restart his life. Everything works out. So what is the message? I suppose that genuine and positive emotions triumph over social divisions and over chaos, whether caused by race or class. What is important is the dexterity with which this simple theme is communicated, without pathos or angst: the world is just what it is - ridiculous, venal and stupid, and sometimes going with the flow and acting out is what saves us. The script is almost ridiculous, but works well in the hands of director Faith Akin (himself a Turk living in Germany, while the Greek character is in fact a real Greek (and the scriptwriter) who also lives in Germany). Akin allows the humour to emerge naturally, without forcing it by the use of slapstick or stereotypes. It starts slow (I think this may be deliberate), and might even irritate at first as the chaos gets installed as the backdrop for the human story. It drags a bit, so one wonders what the hell is going on and when will the "real" action start. But the many unconnected threads are slowly brought together in a charming ending. Definitely worth the rental.
  • sunnielm28 November 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    vote for the insistence the leading actor, and he simplified the life with never look back and straight forward. First glance of the restaurant smell the heavy metal. The music is the highlight of the movie. It will be better if melt the Blue, folk and supportive to the cook. Then the polishing of the cook and Music will be multi-taste. Count of Monte Cristo is also an attractive part, for his trouble maker responsibility. I like cook, but not good at. What is the soul of my cook? Not professional but full of image. what is the soul of my life, we'll see. I like cook, but not good. Keep my passion to be a good chief of my life :)
  • I would love to have liked this - a restaurant romcom- but none of the characters is likeable. So much arguing, anger and unkindness. Maybe my funnybone has gone missing! If you're feeling sympathetic and in the right mood you will enjoy it. (Only got through 30 mins. 9/16)
  • Above all, Faith Akın's* "Soul Kitchen" seems to be a look at present-day Germany. Greek-German restaurant owner Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) represents one of the many ethnicities now making up German society. He tries to make his way in life despite problems like a lack of health insurance and the risk of the restaurant getting shut down and sold to the highest bidder (not to mention that his girlfriend has left him).

    All in all, Angela Merkel may have said that Multikulti has failed, but the ethnic mix is certain to stay. Obviously, there are plenty of lunatics who act as if the growing Muslim presence in European countries is a threat to civilization (the man who just blew up the building and opened fire in a camp in Norway is one such person). Fortunately, it's safe to say that the Bundesrepublik Deutschland is not going to revert to a Nazi government. A really interesting movie.

    Also starring Moritz Bleibtreu (the boyfriend in "Run Lola Run"), Birol Ünel and Monica Bleibtreu.

    *Fatih Akın's surname has an undotted I, a letter that appears in Turkish.
  • It is has been said that Fatih Akin is known for dark, serious movies and that Soul Kitchen is anomaly. That simply isn't true, Akin has made comedies and all of his movies, even though rather dark, have comedic overtures.

    But be that as it may, this movie has all of Akin's main collaborators including his brother Cem, Moritz Bleibtreu, Adam Bousdoukos, and Birol Unel. The special features, "Making of" explain that Soul Kitchen was in the works for several years and then Gegen die Wand was released. Gegen die Wand went on to be a major award winning film for Akin and he felt the pressure of having to repeat his success.

    Soul Kitchen is a more personal story, Adam Bousdoukos owned a Greek (he's Greek-German) restaurant and Fatih worked with him in working on the script. So many of the things that happen in the film are based on Fatih or Adam's experiences. This movie has a serious yet juvenile tone, something that his earlier comedy, "Im Juli" doesn't necessarily have. Soul Kitchen comes the closest to what we Americans would identify with in a comedy.

    Akin is known for giving very little direction to his actors and actresses, so what you see in Soul Kitchen is often a mix of acting and real life. And since many of the same people appear in multiple Akin films, most of them are familiar with one another and with Akin.

    The acting in this movie is on par. Adam Bousdoukos is a strong comedic lead that helps bring life to this movie. Moritz Bleibtreu is great as Adam's brother; his range is amazing from Das Experiment, Lola Rennt, Im Juli, and Soul Kitchen to name a few. Then you have Birol Unel, who is magic as the eccentric master chef who brings new life to Soul Kitchen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Soul Kitchen is a puzzle. Everything that happens in the film has a correspondence in the story. Nothing happens just for the sake of it, even though some pieces do not fit in the big picture, they are still there to serve the full purpose of the film, and this makes overall image of Soul Kitchen positive. It is a story of a man who is in love with his restaurant. He is in the center of the film and everything else happens around him. His name is Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) and he owns a restaurant which is completely made by him. He has a brother in jail for robbery who can go outside during the day if he has a place to work. Zinos is in love with Nadine (Pheline Roggan) and Nadine goes to Shanghai with her work as a journalist and Zinos plans to rent his restaurant and move to Shanghai with his girlfriend but funny and tragicomic events don't leave him alone. Every event and person is related to Zinos. This is the reason why I said he is in the center of the film. Soul kitchen is based on his own experiences as the restaurant owner of a Greek Taverna. The director of the film Fatih Akin was a regular customer in that restaurant and this is how Soul Kitchen is born. This story is even more interesting than the film itself.

    Soul Kitchen is a typical festival film with its atmosphere and story. It is not carrying a message and it doesn't try to give you anything. As I said, it is the story of a guy who is in love with his restaurant. Soul Kitchen is the rise and fall and rebirth of the restaurant with the same name. It has food, alcohol, music, dance and sex in it. It has good people and bad people in it. In the story point of view, it is not perfect and it has a lot of flaws. Zinos' brother is a thief because sometime during the film they will need to steal something, Nadine's grandmother dies and leaves a lot of money to Nadine because in the end of the film, Zinos will need a lot of money to get his restaurant back. He is having a back injury because he is supposed to fall in love with the therapist. The chief of a restaurant loses his job while Zinos is around, because he is supposed to come and work for Zinos. These pieces are needed in the story to make it a whole. This is the beauty of Soul Kitchen. A piece of random information is used during the film to combine something or to make a point. Soul Kitchen is a bad restaurant with good music. Zinos' restaurant is sued by the authorities of all kinds, and Fatih Akin takes these incidences and uses them to show the corruption of the system as well. Soul Kitchen is not intended to be a comedy, but everything that is happening in the film is comedy. Watching Soul Kitchen is like watching life. You don't force anything to happen, they just happen. These are sometimes good, sometimes bad. They are not exaggerated, that's why you get to think that Soul Kitchen is the life itself. The only difference from the real life is some puzzle pieces are re-shaped to fit in the story. This might be the only bad thing about the film. The film has a large cast of European actors, but there is not even one performance worth mentioning. Everything is simple and natural. That's why I said above that watching Soul Kitchen is like watching the life itself.

    There is not much to talk about the film. It is not made for any purpose. Fatih Akin and Adam Bousdoukos' longtime friendship is the only reason of this production. It is like a friend of yours takes a camera in his hand and records your daily life and makes a film out of those shots. Fatih Akin, as a director, is much better than that, but this doesn't apply for Soul Kitchen. In my opinion Soul Kitchen is made purely for fun. This film is a great memory of this friendship. If you want to judge Fatih Akin as a director you should watch, Head On or The Edge of Heaven or In July. Fatih Akin is a talented director, just don't judge him if Soul Kitchen is the first and the only film you have seen made by him.

    There are two good points of the film. One is the music, and second is the natural flow of the story. Soul Kitchen is completely in German language and has a runtime of 99 minutes. Every character has their own flaws and this makes the film natural. Released on 2009, Soul Kitchen has even received a special prize in Venice Film Festival.
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