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Friday, July 16, 2010

SOUL KITCHEN

By D.E.Levine

Director: Faith Akin
Writer: Faith Akin and Adam Bousdoukos (sceenplay)
Cast: Adam Bousdoukos, Morris Bleibtreu, Birol Unel, Anna Bederke, Pheline Doggan, Lukas Gregorowicz, Dorka Gryllus, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Demir Gokgol, Monica Bleibtreu, Marc Hosemann, Cem Akin, Catrin Striebeck, Hendrik von Bultzingslowen, Jan Fedder et al.
Producer: Faith Akin, Anne Kristin Homann and Klaus Maeck
Producer NDR: Jeanette Wurl
Co-producer: Paolo Colombo, Alberto Fanni, Fabienne Vonier and Flaminio Zadra
Line Producer: Cristian Springer
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Country of Origin: Germany
Language: German
Genre: Comedy

This is a wonderful, small film that may be hard to find because it's a foreign import and not booked into many of the big theaters.

Set in Hamburg, Germany, the story deals with a German-Greek restaurant owner, Zinos, who runs a popular restaurant, Soul Kitchen, serving the popular "junk" food like fried frozen fish sticks, french fries and salads with lots of mayonnaise, that he prepares himself.

While the restaurant is popular with his working class clients, the tax collectors are at the door and his girlfriend, Nadine, is leaving to take a job in Shanghai. Added to that he has a cat-burglar brother, Illias, who needs a job for a work/parole program.

Realizing that to get out of debt and join Nadine in China he has to earn more money, Zinos hires an upscale chef, Shayne, who refuses to serve the regular greasey menu.

By letting one of the waiters use the restaurant for band practice, Soul Kitchen becomes extremely popular with the band's young following and the restaurant starts to turn a profit, enabling Zinos to conform with health board regulations, pay the owed taxes and buy a ticket to Shanghai.

True to form life never runs smoothly and a series of mishaps, rejection by Nadine, and the loss of the restuarant as a gambling debt to a corrupt realtor (Zinos' elementary school friend) cause Zinos a succession of real but humorous problems.

How he deals with it is funny, touching and endearing. With an upbeat music score of popular tunes when the film ends it leaves the audience wanting more.