DIRECTED BY FATIH AKIN
STARRING: ADAM BOUSDOKOS, MORITZ BLEIBTREU, PHELINE ROGGAN, ANNA BEDERKE, BIROL UNEL, DORCA GRYLLUS, WOTAN WILKE MOHRING, LUCAS GREGOROWICZ AND CATRIN STRIEBECK
Warning: The following is not a piece of criticism but rather a perspective of admiration, possibly to fanatical extents, which is what could predominantly have helped me like ‘Soul Kitchen’ to the level that I ended up liking it, left in splits by a couple of sequences and entirely carried ahead by the rest without an apparent dull moment. I have to say that Fatih looks to be a sort of a reciprocal of Woody Allen in this digression into unfamiliar territory, that of comedy, like how the latter does serious to get his wares ahead. Allen casts Tchaikovsky, Fatih is more grunge, house and underground, and they deal with spectacularly diverse sections of society at that. Fatih Akin, still, is the only man who could have made ‘The Edge of Heaven’ and having said that, what was done was solely an analogy and not a comparison.
‘Soul Kitchen’ is funny. I wouldn’t call it hilarious or entirely justified, but it is what it is, a funny film that has a story to tell, and the humour here is for humour’s sake, it isn’t a prerequisite. Zinos is in real a tragedy, a sob-story, a laughing stock of an otherwise perfect robbery. He needs his brother to teach him something he already knows, he needs his girlfriend to show for real that she’s exactly what he fears she’d be and he has to lose his flourishing restaurant to make all this happen. He has (and earns) the friendship of Lucia, a naïve, yet committed romantic, that of Shayn, the trump, soul of his kitchen, knife on the wall, his brother Ilias, of course, and not to mention the enmity of one who’s written to be screwed by the one he screws (goes both ways), as part of which Catrin Striebeck gets to show that she can’t miss out on the sex on screen. Not the comedy, though. It’s not constructed: it hovers as it’s supposed to.
I wouldn’t call it slapstick, the physical condition, which ironically forms the backbone and isn’t an mere element. It’s the beings that are funny, the characters don’t have to be. Of course, I’m talking about Zinos and not Adam; Ilias and not Moritz, ‘Bonebreaker Kebel’ and not Ugur. Technicalities, well… the soundtrack was impressive, it had Fatih written all over it. Birol Unel extrapolates his ‘Head On’ slouch, except that it comes off to be surprisingly humourous. Pretty much a personnel overload, still it’s all good. There’s room for adoration, for empathy and most importantly, there’s a lot of laughs. Some goodness, of course, yeah. Even ‘Sideways’ ended on an optimistic note.
‘Soul Kitchen’ to me, is an example of how Fatih Akin would handle comedy in pretty much his own way. And I found that substantially soulful.