The normally serious director returned to his Hamburg roots for his lightest film so far.
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17 Apr 2013 - 4:27 PM  UPDATED 22 Dec 2015 - 3:43 PM

It is such a joy to be researching a film for one reason or another and come across a thorough and unfiltered interview with the director on YouTube or a comprehensive Q&A in written form. I had this experience in reference to Fatih Akin's film Soul Kitchen, which is being shown this Saturday at 9.30pm.

Four Lions, the debut film from the UK comedian Chris Morris, was going to go in this spot but the SBS programming department yesterday decided to pull it off air because of the deaths and injuries that have resulted from the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon.

I had no knowledge of Soul Kitchen before having to see and do some research on the film in order to write a script about it as part of my SBS Film presentation duties. (It was scheduled for two weeks later). I knew of the reliably good work of Fatih Akin (Head-On, The Edge of Heaven), the German-born filmmaker of Turkish parents and thought of him as very motivated by the political, a fine storyteller and someone able to deliver something that's both cinematic and tough – an irresistible combination.

In comparison to his other work, Soul Kitchen was so light and silly and entertaining in a different sort of way, but when I chanced upon this Q&A, it suddenly grew in meaning because I had the context. I'm a big advocate of seeing films then reading reviews, articles and other forms of commentary about them – I prefer to decide what I think, not be told what to think in advance – but this Q&A is definitely background not spoiler material.

 

Things Akin says specifically in relation to Soul Kitchen, for example, are that, compared to his other films, it is most like a diary to him, and that it is an exercise in making a commercial film without selling his soul. It is also an ode to his home town of Hamburg and to his old life as a dirty rotten stop-out – before he became a parent. Things he says in relation to cinema generally are that certain arthouse cinemas to him are “very, very spiritual”, like churches, and that one of the best films about filmmaking is Day for Night by François Truffaut. (I usually avoid films that navel gaze but on his advice, I'm going to go looking for it.)

Anyway, there's no need for me to keep rattling on, just get to know Fatih Akin in this article and see Soul Kitchen either this Saturday. It is such good fun and it has a great soundtrack to boot.

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