Soul Kitchen—Movie

Soul Kitchen, a German film (which recently closed Filmfest DC), is wonderful—funny, suspenseful, and yes, full of soul.

Written by Fatih Akin and Adam Bousdoukos and directed by Akin, Soul Kitchen is the delightful story of two brothers who couldn’t be more different…or more adorable. Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) wears his heart on his sleeve and is the hardworking owner/chef of a restaurant in a rundown section of Hamburg. Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu), a gambler and some-time drug user, is just recently out of prison on a work release program and gets a job in his brother’s restaurant.

Zinos’ restaurant, Soul Kitchen, serves up plain comfort food and has a very small following. Zinos is just barely managing to keep his head and restaurant above water, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, now faces foreclosure. For once in his life the gods are shining on him and he runs into a talented, but extremely temperamental chef who, thanks to his “delightful” personality, has just been fired. Zinos offers him the chef job in his restaurant and after a rough start, the restaurant begins to attract a new, upscale crowd and staves off closing. However, Zinos’ large heart gets him in trouble and it’s how he and his brother face these troubles that makes the film so compelling.

Is Soul Kitchen deep, full of meaning-of-life questions? No, emphatically no. But it’s full of heart and fun, has a great ensemble cast, and a terrific, soul music soundtrack to boot (and the best head of hair on a lead actor in a long time). It’s easy to see why Soul Kitchen won a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.

3 1/2 nuggets out of 4

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