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Germany, 2009, 99 min
feature, comedy, color
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Director - Fatih Akin
Script - Fatih Akin, Adam Bousdoukos
Cinematographer - Rainer Klausmann
With - Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu, Birol Ünel, Pheline Roggan, Anna Bederke, Wotan Wilke Möhring
Producers - Fatih Akin, Klaus Maeck, Flaminio Zadra

Production - Corazón International/Dorje Film/Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)/Pyramide Productions

Awards and Nominations

Venice ’09 – Special Jury Prize and Young Cinema Award; European Film Awards ’10 – Nomination for Audience Award and for Best Film

Soul Kitchen is about family and friends, about love, trust and loyalty and about the struggle to protect a place called home in an increasingly unpredictable world. Fatih Akin has gathered a best-of cast from his previous films – Adam Bousdoukos (Kurz und Schmerzlos, Gegen die Wand), Moritz Bleibtreu (Solino, Im Juli), Birol Ünel (Gegen die Wand, Im Juli).

Zinos, a young restaurant-owner, is left by his long-term girlfriend Nadine. Zinos spends more time in the restaurant than with her, and she has just been offered a job in Shanghai.
After she leaves, Zinos spirals into crisis mode and decides to sell his restaurant. The Soul Kitchen has certainly seen better days - it's not exactly buzzing, and Wilhelmsburg, the part of town where the restaurant is, is much too far away from the hip, bustling atmosphere at the heart of Hamburg. Zinos doesn't know better but to follow Nadine - so he tries to sell the restaurant. And suddenly there are only three weeks to go before the closure. In these three weeks, pure anarchy breaks out in the Soul Kitchen: the chef cooks what he's always wanted to cook, a new DJ gets the guests dancing after their meals, artists exhibit their work - and the guests like it. Rumours of the cult Soul Kitchen spread right around Hamburg. At the very last party, Zinos realises it was a mistake to sell the restaurant. When he finds out it's going to be torn down to make way for a shopping mall, he moves heaven and earth to get the Soul Kitchen back...

Until now, German director Fatih Akin has been known for hard-hitting, streetwise movies that only occasionally take a moment to swoon into lyricism, writes Cameron Bailey. Mostly, films like Head-On and The Edge of Heaven are bracing and resolutely real. Well, Akin's mood must have brightened this year, because while Soul Kitchen is directed with as much strength and confidence as ever, it's a loose-limbed, house party of a comedy. As Fatih Akin himself elaborates, “I needed to laugh at this point in my life, because as Charlie Chaplin says “Smile”, no matter what. I became slave of the success, slave of the seriousness of my movies. But life is more than that. It has more colors. One of my closest friends died during the shooting of The Edge of Heaven. It took me 6 months to grieve and I understood that death is part of living. So the best thing I could do afterwards was comedy. We shouldn’t forget that laughing is also important part of life.”

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Recording Studio Sydney