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Foreign Film - Germany - Eden

Germany - Eden

Josef Ostendorf, Charlotte Roche
Directed by Michael Hoffman
German with English subtitles
Netherlands 2006
Mongrel Media 2007
98 minutes

Eden is an absolutely wonderful drama about the power of food that is visually as stimulating as the food in this German DVD seems to be. Director Michael Hoffman tells a very simple story that simply captivates the viewer. This is a movie that quickly puts the viewer in a very receptive mood and does not disappoint.

Eden benefits from a solid cast. Josef Ostendorf plays Gregor, a chef who runs a very successful restaurant in a small resort town. He is a very talented chef and also lonely and socially awkward. Charlotte Roche of European MTV fame plays Eden, a somewhat lonely mother who quickly falls in love with the culinary talents of this amazing chef. The most telling line in the film is when Charlotte's daughter tastes Gregor's latest creation and says it is Eden. Gregor is somewhat disappointed when the mother reveals the daughter was just saying her name (or was she?).

This German movie has a lot of visually sublime scenes and brilliant scenes. Any moment where you see Gregor prepare food is a feast but there is also the scene where Eden's husband -who somehow got a table in a restaurant booked six months ahead of time- believing like many in the village his wife is having a tryst with Gregor, goes to the restaurant to see and taste what is going on.

The story is really that of two lonely people who come together through food. Eden tries some of Gregor's recipes and this seems to help her union with her husband. The movie is full of the same kind of subtle nuances one attributes to sublime food. There is a comic element, pathos, sensuality, great joy and sadness.

Although Eden is a brilliant German movie, there are moments in Eden that certainly bear a second viewing for better understanding. Some of the story's and Gregor's mood swings are a bit hard to figure out and the story eventually becomes rather dark as Eden's husband becomes exceedingly jealous of the man who makes her happy.

Aside from the cliché use of a particular Vivaldi composition that betrays this otherwise exquisite movie, Eden is a great movie. Unfortunately, my copy of the DVD strobed a couple of times.

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