Turkish-German director Fatih Akin has long been an arthouse favourite around these parts. Head-On (2004) and The Edge of Heaven (2007) were Festival successes so it was odd to see his new film Soul Kitchen skip this year’s event and go straight to general release. On viewing it’s easy to see why. Akin has gone commercial and Soul Kitchen is as broad a comedy as you’ll find outside the big chains – sadly I have to report that Akin’s film doesn’t sit comfortably in that territory.
Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) runs a greasy spoon café called the Soul Kitchen in a rundown part of old Hamburg. He’s not much of a cook or a businessman but his loyal customers seem to like it. Thrown into a tizzy by a combination of his girlfriend’s move to China, a very bad back, the tax department, his deadbeat brother (Moritz Bleibtreu) on day release from prison and an old school friend with an eye on his real estate, Zinos tries to navigate his way through a rapidly deteriorating situation with only a genius new chef and some loyal but easily distracted staff.
Why is this man smiling? “Er, Victoria, a pigeon’s just crapped on my shoulder.”
Presenting the first of my weekly (weakly?) lists of stuff I’ve stumbled across via the web over the last seven days.
Firstly, it is unlikely that I will be purchasing the new red England away top despite my being a prime candidate (I bought the 2002 reversable version and still wear the blue side). Even though it is un homage to the classic 1966 World Cup winning shirt it’s still too busy for me. What is it with the little white “thing” on the right shoulder and the Umbro logo is as wide and prominent as the three lions? And they have persevered with the tiny gold star which made the last shirt seem like it belonged to the People’s Republic of China. Anyway, on to the interesting stuff:
The Guardian talks to Underworld, Ray Davies, Pete Shelley, Richard X, Johnny Marr, Nick Hodgson, Rhymefest, Peter Hook, Tony Hicks, Gary Numan, Ron Mael and KT Tunstall about how some of their signature tunes came to be:
“The drum pattern was ripped off from a Donna Summer B‑side. We’d finished the drum pattern and we were really happy, then Steve accidentally kicked out the drum machine lead so we had to start from scratch and it was never as good.” (Peter Hook from New Order talking about “Blue Monday”)
“Not only is there a premature gear change after the second chorus, but towards the end of the song there are a further two in a row. They’re so ill-advised that you can hear the nervousness in his wavering voice as he tries to resist each time. All it achieves, though, is the effect of everything going horribly out of tune. I’m not absolutely certain that the word “cacophonic” exists, but that’s the most apt way to sum up this atrocity.”
WFMU’s “Beware of the Blog” uses Google Earth to locate ten favourite movie locations including the cliff Bud Cort drove his car off at the end of Harold and Maude, the waterfall pool that Michael York and Jenny Agutter dive into at the end of Logan’s Run and the bank and street from Dog Day Afternoon. I can’t run Google Earth on this ageing PowerBook but I look forward to soon joining the 21st Century. Maybe even next week.
255. Casting a black Desdemona alongside a black Othello is kind of missing the point a bit.
256. The Montague clan are not aliens. No, really, they’re not.
257. No matter how much homoerotic subtext has been built up over the course of the play, I will not end Richard II by having Henry pull Richard’s dead body out of a pool of water, having him proceed to lie on top of it, and then roll, the one over the other, all over the stage in complete silence until the curtain comes to hide them from the audience’s bleeding eyes.
Finally, not only has someone in a feature film got my name, he’s the title character – and this is a film with Bruce Willis and Ben Kingsley! Some people are used to sharing the same name as characters on screen (I know an Anderson and a Harper who must be sick of it) but will be a new experience for me.