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One of the BEST films (Foreign or English-speaking) that I have seen in the last decade! Hollywood take note, this is one Oscar-worthy Greek film with breathtaking cinematography, beautiful music, a clever screenplay and a great cast. In a nostalgic way, it will remind the moviegoer that both food and life require 'a touch of spice' to achieve that extra flavor. A heart-warming yet bittersweet story about a special bond that forms between a grandfather/mentor and his grandson, when he was a little boy, which lingers throughout his life as a teenager and, finally, as an adult ... with a mix of politics during those times. And the pretty young girl, who dances for him ... It will make you laugh; it will make you cry and, most likely, you will also leave the cinema wishing it did not end.
I kept putting off seeing this film, because there was so much fuss
about it, I was sure I was going to be disappointed. Well, I finally
watched it last night and I was pleasantly surprised: This film is
actually as good as most people say it is. At first glance it seems to
be a film about food (which is not bad - hey, I love food), but turns
out to be so much more. The reasons I liked it? Well, read on.
First of all, it is a way above average production for Greek film standards. Music, camera-work, photography, CGI, script,acting, everything is very well done. Some people complain about the CGI used, saying that it looks fake, that it looks more like a painting (mostly the shots of Istanbul), that it looks unrealistic. Well, they are probably right: it does look a bit unrealistic, but I think this is intentional. We see someone's memories and memories tend to be polished and larger than life.
Second, it is probably the only Greek film I've seen that, while dealing with a subject that only Greeks and Turks can really relate to, you don't have to be a Greek to enjoy it. It's easy on the eyes, it's touching, it's well written. And, amazingly, it deals with Greek-Turkish relationships without passing blame: it provides the facts but avoids passing judgment (this is actually very rare, as both Greeks and Turks tend to blame each other when these events are mentioned).
Finally, you end up feeling better (and hungry) after watching this film, which is reason enough to watch it. Highly recommended to everyone, I give this film 10 out of 10.
Having strong bonds with the story behind this movie I have to say that it is one if not the best Greek movie I have watched in my life. It touches sensitively on subjects that by many can be considered wrong to talk about and presents them in the nicest way without diverting from the history. The political turmoil as well as the relationships of people living in Polis (Istanbul) are highlighted and the key figures although play minor role in the events that happen around them still steal the interest by presenting how simple yet "rich" in taste their life was. Coming from a family that was as well deported (using a modest word here for what really happened) from home lands, the movie touched me in so many ways. I think it deserves a 10/10 and is highly recommended.. not only for the Greeks that can relate to the story but for anyone who can appreciate a good story.
See this film. You don't have to be Greek or Turkish to be touched. Do not expect a complicated scenario. It's a simple story that moves between funny and dramatic to touch sensitive chordes of your sentiments. Not boring. Gives you a better mood than when you enter the theatre. Eat well before viewing.
Not since Cinema Paradiso have I seen a movie that put me through such
an emotional roller coaster. I was laughing in one scene while the
tears had still not dried up from the previous one. A cinematic
masterpiece. A proof of the power of the human spirit and that of
childhood innocence and purity that is often preserved in some adults.
The film is largely based on the real life experiences of the writer and director. This is the furthest from a commercial film in that it does not follow a canned script recipe. On the other hand, the quality of the production is outstanding: the CG sequences of Istanbul and Athens, crane and steady-cam shots...
Here are some reasons why I profoundly enjoyed this film: I like movies
where you get to know people - people you like, that you remember, that
you keep with you. I also like it when the guy in the uniform is NOT
the hero, but here it's even better - the guy in the uniform is wrong,
but not quite all bad... I like when the Turks don't get all the blame.
I like it when the Greeks don't get all the blame. I like spices and
stars and complicated smells and honest, complex people and I like
dreamers and slowly, carefully told tales about human people.
If they don't seem very good reasons, please consider that the whole is much, much more than the sum of the parts.
And by the way... I am proof you that you don't need to have any Greek ancestors to be moved by this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I read all the comments about this movie before posting mine, and I
happen to agree with a couple of them about some flaws in this movie.
But I'm still giving it a 8,5/10 because it's pretty good in general.
Oh and the Turkish actors are not dubbed, they're speaking English with
their own voice. What's so unbelievable about that? Anyway..
Politiki Kouzina has the utmost political message ever: Politics is bulls**t, and it's only useful for tearing people and nations apart! I was really touched by the line "Turks are sending us away as Greeks, and Greeks are receiving us as Turks". I know that pretty well, because the situation with the Bulgarian Turks is pretty much the same and it was a very popular issue in the 90's. "Bulgarians hate us for we're Turks, and Turks address us as Bulgarians". I guess that's the way it goes, as much as it pains anyone with a heart. You have no problems with the place you're living in, you hardly consider yourself a foreigner at all, and all of a sudden someone says you have to "go home". And where the hell is that? A place you go to hear you're from some place else is home just because you come from the same race with its occupants? Doubtful.. This movie delivers the reality behind the Turco-Greek political tension without going into too much depth, and staying loyal to the facts. Moreover, it delivers them without hurting anyone, just the reality as it is. Did the whole Cyprus thing begin because of the evil Greeks or the evil Turks? Probably neither. As a Turkish proverb says "The wet burns along with the dry". Some nasty people decide to destroy peace, and the innocent ones who have the mental capacity to love everyone without checking their passport are the ones who get hurt. Politiki Kouzina depicts this issue oh so very perfectly! You don't need to be Turkish or Greek to enjoy the movie, but you really have to be one of those to get the feeling as it's supposed to be delivered. I can relate to the issue better than an average Turk or Greek, and less than a Greek who's been deported from Turkey or vice versa. My mother was brought up in a neighbourhood of Greeks and Jews. Her friends still send cards and call from Greece and Israel, and some still in Turkey. OK, Turkey and Israel never had problems, but this shows Turkey and Greece could very well overcome their problems too. I've been in Greece, loved the people. I've heard the same several times from Greeks visiting Turkey. What's it that people can't share then? I believe the director of this flick is also one with this sentiment, and fascists of both sides would be utterly disappointed by the movie. Istanbul or Konstantinopolis, Izmir or Smyrna.. Big deal? But it was a big deal for some people, so big that they couldn't even allow innocent children's sweet love to stay intact.
As for the cinematography and such, it's quite alright except for a few minor flaws. Many Turks have been acted by Greeks, that's so very obvious with the accent. Maybe that's a problem only to the Turkish audience, but it doesn't take an IQ of 500 to figure this movie was also meant for Turkish audiences. It can't be THAT hard to find someone who can speak both advanced Greek and basic Turkish, or vice versa. The acting by ALL the cast is really good. My favourite is the head actor, whom I've seen on Peppermint before and was impressed by. The kids are also doing great.
An exceptional story does not always suffice to make a good film, but this one seems to have added enough of the other ingredients to make it as interesting as the plot line would suggest. Recommended to everyone, and extra recommended to Turks and Greeks.
This movie explores a painful chapter of the recent Greek history; that of
the Greeks of 'Polis' (Konstantinoupolis/Istabul) and their suffering
because of the political turbulence that dominated Greek-Turkish relations
of the 20th century.
The whole movie seems to be an allegory and addresses things through the particular cooking habits (and abilities) of the Greeks of Polis. It has it all: sweetness, bitterness, love, pain. The main actors perform very well but this is not the case for a couple of the supporting ones. The music is discrete and effective and serves its purpose very well in the nostalgic atmosphere.
In any case, the movie achieves to evoke strong emotions and does not deviate from its course for a happy ending. Highly recommended!
I just watched the film for the second time in two days and loved it.
Initialy, you may be forgiven of thinking that the film is a testament to
nostalgia, love, and the preocupation of the Greeks with good food.
Nevertheless, although cooking is the main theme of the film, halfway
through you realize that there is a serious story behind the
The production, computer graphics and sound could be better but that doesn't really matter. Cinema is about the whole product and in this case it is superb. Good casting with some splendid performances, great cinematography, excellent direction, great music. If that's not enough for you, the film communicates a fine and simple philosophy about life, the universe and everything - one that we used to identify with but sadly we are rapidly moving away from it.
I hope the film is distributed outside Greece. I wouldn't be surprised if it won a few international awards.
This movie has become the biggest box office hit in Greece ever with more than one million tickets already sold. So the money spent were well spent. It is about the "Polis" (Constantinoupolis) the City. The polis, namely Istanbul, has its images, sounds, smells and of course its unbelievable cuizine. Greeks and Turks long for it and cannot live away from it. Cought in political turbulence, the Greeks of Istanbul are deported to mainland Greece bringing with them the art of cooking that awakens memories of a past long gone. A will for reconciliation prevails when the deported child returns to Istanbul many years later. It is worth watching for some delightful stage design and beautiful music as well as for turning on ones appetite. Some of the missed opportunities of this film include mediocre acting from some of the characters and the very few takes from Istanbul that should have been more.
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