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Soul Kitchen

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Germany, France, Italy · 2009
1h 39m
Director Fatih Akin
Starring Adam Bousdoukos, Birol Ünel, Moritz Bleibtreu, Anna Bederke
Genre Drama, Comedy

When Greek restaurant owner Zinos chases the girl he loves to China, the restaurant falls into his brother's hands. Upon returning, Zinos finds his kitchen taken over by the mob and in debt. Deciding to reopen by bringing in a hotshot chef, Zinos risks the loyalty of regular customers for a flashier atmosphere.

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What are critics saying?


Slate by Dana Stevens

Soul Kitchen is sprawling, undisciplined, raucous, occasionally crass-and so full of life you forgive it everything.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

The only reason Soul Kitchen is being marketed as an "art film" in the United States is because it is subtitled. On merit, this is as mainstream as one can imagine - a generic, feel-good plot that's fit for a sit-com. Call it My Big Fat Greek Restaurant.


NPR by Jeannette Catsoulis

Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin isn't exactly known for slapstick, so Soul Kitchen has the feel of a palate cleanser. After the hard-edged drama of "Head-On" and "The Edge of Heaven," this boisterous comedy milling with scruffy misfits goes down more easily than an oyster on the half shell.


Village Voice by Nicolas Rapold

Since the filmmaker's main agenda here is to keep things bumping along, the fraught situations are happily played and funk-scored as crowd-pleasing rather than issue-stroking.


The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett

In a fine ensemble with many well-drawn smaller characters, Bleibtreu ("Run Lola Run", "The Baader-Meinhof Complex") as the hapless brother, Unel ("Head On") as the fussy chef and Bederke, as a waitress, all stand out.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Soul Kitchen plays everything big and loud-and sometimes too doggedly conventional-but it's the rare example of a crowd-pleaser made without cynicism or calculation.


Movieline by Stephanie Zacharek

This is a picture whose dance steps are determined by any number of mishaps and misfortunes; like the dance floor of a great club on a good night, it's gorgeous, unruly and exhilarating all at once.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

Its insistent zaniness makes Soul Kitchen very different in spirit from Mr. Akin's two previous films, "Head-On" and "The Edge of Heaven," which established him as a major European filmmaker. Seriously silly, it evokes the same high-spirited, pan-European multiculturalism in which people of all ages and backgrounds blithely traverse national borders as they aggressively pursue their destinies.

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