Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Germany, 2009. Centre National de la Cinématographie, Corazón International, Dorje Film, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Pyramide Productions. Screenplay by Fatih Akin, Adam Bousdoukos. Cinematography by Rainer Klausmann. Produced by Fatih Akin, Ann-Kristin Homann, Klaus Maeck, Jeanette Wurl. Production Design by Tamo Kunz. Costume Design by Katrin Aschendorf. Film Editing by Andrew Bird. Toronto International Film Festival 2009.
Zinos Kazatsakis is barely making ends meet running his restaurant out of a converted factory in a Hamburg suburb. It all rains down on him at once when his girlfriend leaves for China and insists that he come along, the health department comes and gives him a failure during inspection, he throws out his back while moving furniture and is unable to stand, the government comes and claims he hasn’t paid back taxes, and his brother gets out of prison and needs a job. Most people would throw in the towel, but Zinos keeps it all afloat while trying to make everyone happy; thanks to a knife-throwing new chef he hires to spruce up his menu, the task could possibly be accomplished. Although it’s no Babette’s Feast, this intelligent, warm and witty food film by Fatih Akin is worthy of the good ones (Mostly Martha) and features terrific performances, writing and direction, plus a wonderfully appealing lead character portrayed by Adam Bousdoukos. Oddly enough, what it features very little of is actual food (don’t expect any Scent of Green Papaya-esque inspirations), but it’s very enjoyable all the same.