With Soul Kitchen, Akin shifts to comedy, a surprising departure from the more sombre tones set in Head On and The Edge of Heaven, his previous films. Akin apparently decided to thwart expectations, bringing us this house party of a comedy instead. The result is pure entertainment, the story of a Greek restaurant owner who makes two round-trips from rags to riches. Things begin to go wrong when his girlfriend is transferred to Shanghai, his lowlife brother shows up after a stint in prison, and his new gourmet chef tries to pass off fish fingers as haute cuisine. As if that weren't enough, he throws out his back while moving a dishwasher and the tax collector keeps hounding him for back taxes. Things start looking up when Hamburg's hip crowd embraces his revamped culinary concept... only to take a nosedive once again.
Soul Kitchen was a standout at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, taking home the Special Jury Prize, one of the highest honours. It seems Akin can do no wrong with cinephiles, and this one continues his winning streak, after the Golden Bear in Berlin for Head On, Best Screenplay in Cannes for The Edge of Heaven, and several nominations and honours at the European Film Awards. In Ghent, Akin has already won the Canvas Audience Award twice for The Edge of Heaven and Crossing the Bridge, a music documentary.
Fatih Akin was born in Hamburg in 1973, the son of Turkish immigrants. While studying at Hamburg's College of Fine Arts, he began writing and directing his first short features, winning prizes at several national and international festivals. His first full-length feature film, Short Sharp Shock, won the Bronze Leopard at Locarno. The festival is delighted to welcome Fatih Akin back to Ghent and is looking forward to presenting Soul Kitchen to the press and the public.