Saturday, August 21, 2010
A Movie a Day, day 97: Soul Kitchen
After his last two brilliant and emotionally demanding feature-length fiction films, Head-On and The Edge of Heaven, it's nice to see Fatih Akin kick back and relax, but I suspect he enjoyed making Soul Kitchen more than I enjoyed watching it.
Soul Kitchen shares a lot of ingredients with Head-On and The Edge of Heaven: All three have a respectful but nuanced view of family relationships (family ties in an Akin movie are as likely to strangle as to save you); a bone-deep understanding of the cross-cultural pollination that has transformed Europe and Akin's own family (his parents emigrated to Germany from Turkey); and a strong score, flavored by techno in The Edge of Heaven, punk in Head-On, soul music here, and traditional Turkish music in them all. They also use a lot of the same actors, most notably Head-On star Birol Ünel, who has a scene-stealing supporting role in Soul Kitchen as a temperamental chef, and the film's co-writer and star Adam Bousdoukos, who had a cameo in Head-On.
But this time, Akin dials down the emotional intensity and amps up the fun to write a lighthearted love letter to his native Hamburg's hip Wilhelmsburg section (no, New Yorkers, the name isn't part of the joke). Read the rest on The House Next Door, Slant Magazine's blog.