Another film, another celebrity sighting…This time it was Patricia Clarkson, who rocked her role as Aunt Sarah in Six Feet Under (“I had a lover who was Russian. He once told me that vodka is for Russians what therapy is for Americans.”). If only we could all have an aunt like that!

I sat in the balcony bar waiting for my film to begin, enjoying the time with my friend, as we struggled to remember Clarkson’s name. (It came to us too late, and we were shy, so we never got to tell her how much we appreciated Aunt Sarah.) Turns out Clarkson was being interviewed for her film, Cairo Time, which we had just missed.

We were back at the festival to see “Soul Kitchen,” drawn to this movie initially because it’s set in Hamburg, Germany. Back in the college days when we had month-long vacations, we spent a pretty awesome month – December, no less – there subsisting happily on a very healthy diet of pommes rot-weiss (french fries with ketchup and mayonnaise), nutella brotchen (rolls smeared with nutella), and the occasional franzbrotchen — like a croissant, only better. Something told us “Soul Kitchen” might be the film to transport us back to those days, and deliver it did.

The “Soul Kitchen” is located in Wilhelmsburg, a neighborhood in one of the most urban boroughs of Hamburg, put on the maps recently by Dockville, Hamburg’s annual music and arts festival. The restaurant’s immediate location is gritty and industrial, near the port. The dingy setting is in stark contrast, though, to the colorful crew who keep the restaurant “running” (if that’s what you could call it initially) and the locals who frequent the joint. Both Zinos, the struggling owner who spends his time juggling his restaurant, his long-distance girlfriend, and his convict bro who’s on work release in his custody, and the Soul Kitchen, undergo hilarious transformations during the course of the film. Watching the evolution of Zinos’ admittedly pathetic cooking and disorganized clapboard kitchen gave us hope for our own culinary skills and our own sad little K

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