“Passion Food” is the motto of the eleventh Culinary Cinema program at the Berlin Film Festival, which will be held from February 12 to 17, 2017. This year eleven recent full-length films focusing on the relationship between food, culture and politics will be presented.
“Undoubtedly, passion – and its mastery – is a driving force behind the work of cooks and filmmakers, and simultaneously one of its themes,” Festival Director Dieter Kosslick says in explaining the motto.
The Spanish documentary Soul by José Antonio Blanco and Ángel Parra will open the program. The film’s protagonist Eneko Atxa runs a restaurant complex near Bilbao in the Basque region. His exploration of the soul of cooking has him traveling to famous colleagues in Catalonia and Japan. Eneko Atxa (three Michelin stars, “Azurmendi”, Larrabetzu, province of Bizkaia) will create the meal on this first evening.
Barkeepers also have to master passions, as otherwise they might lose control of the situation. In the documentary Schumanns Bargespräche (Schumann’s Bar Talks) director Marieke Schroeder accompanies legendary barkeeper Charles Schumann to the world’s best bars. Alexander Koppe (one Michelin star, “Skykitchen”, Berlin) will cook.
In his episode of the Netflix series Chef’s Table (dir: Abigail Fuller), Tim Raue tells how he succeeded in turning the negative energies of his youth into positive ones by cooking. In another episode, David Gelb, who created Chef’s Table, takes us to Korea, to the kitchen of a hermitage where Buddhist nun Jeong Kwan prepares temple food. Tim Raue (two Michelin stars, “Tim Raue”, Berlin) will take up his position at the stove of Culinary Cinema for the seventh time.
In Mark Tchelistcheff’s film André – The Voice of Wine we learn that vines have to suffer to bear quality grapes. This knowledge from viniculture is, in a figurative sense, also true of André Tchelistcheff, an oenologist who emigrated from Russia. In the 1930s, after the end of Prohibition, he helped re-establish winemaking in California. Sebastian Frank (two Michelin stars, “Horváth”, Berlin) will serve the meal for this film.
In Monsieur Mayonnaise, Australian director Trevor Graham accompanies painter and filmmaker Philippe Mora who is researching his family’s eventful past. His father, Georges Mora alias Monsieur Mayonnaise fought in the Résistance. After the war he moved to Australia and founded an artist colony. Christian Lohse (two Michelin stars, “Fischers Fritz”, Berlin) will cook on this evening.
To wrap up the main programme, Culinary Cinema Goes Kiez will present the Canadian production Theater of Life by Peter Svatek at EISZEIT Kino. It shows how highly celebrated chef Massimo Bottura sets up a soup kitchen in Milan that cooks meals made from discarded food. Markthalle Neun and restaurant “Restlos Glücklich” will be responsible for this evening’s meal.
At the late-night screenings (where no meals are served afterwards), the passion for good food and ecological engagement will remain the leitmotif. Should we eat animals or just pet them? This is the question explored by filmmakers John Papola and Lisa Versaci in At the Fork. And in Christopher LaMarca’s Boone, three young farmers from Oregon have a dilemma: they may milk their goats but are not allowed to sell the milk. In Atlantic, Risteard Ó Domhnaill examines how it was possible that the fish population of the vast North Atlantic was almost wiped out and the ecosystem destroyed. In addition Wendell Berry, who has shaped ecological thinking in the USA for the past 50 years is portrayed by Laura Dunn in Look & See: The Story of Wendell Berry.
The Canadian short film Hand.Line.Cod. by Justin Simms completes this year’s programme.
“In its eleventh year, Culinary Cinema will once more be a melting pot for films and cooks who explore the human body and soul through the topic of food. Is eating a passion, a vital activity, or a profit-oriented commercial sector? This requires clarification,” says Thomas Struck, curator of Culinary Cinema.
A fiery passion also blazes during Culinary Cinema’s “TeaTime”: The cookbook “Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen” features the communal spirit of cooking and creativity by one of today’s most recognized artists („TeaTime“, Feb. 14, 2017). Kamal Mouzawak, Slow Food activist from Lebanon, reflects on problems of migration, and the relationship between a person’s homeland and food. (“TeaTime”, Feb. 15, 2017).
Nobody visiting the Festival should have to forego eating well: in cooperation with Markthalle Neun and Slow Food, delicious Berlinale Street Food will again be on sale at food trucks at the corner of Joseph-von-Eichendorf-Gasse and Alte Potsdamer Straße (Feb 8 – 19, 2017).
The films in the Culinary Cinema program 2017:
André – The Voice of Wine – USA
By Mark Tchelistcheff
Atlantic – Ireland / Canada
By Risteard Ó Domhnaill
At The Fork – USA
By John Papola
Boone – USA
By Christopher LaMarca
Chef’s Table – Jeong Kwan – USA
By David Gelb
Chef’s Table – Tim Raue – USA
By Abigail Fuller
Hand.Line.Cod. – Canada
By Justin Simms
Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry – USA
By Laura Dunn
Monsieur Mayonnaise – Australia / Germany
By Trevor Graham
Schumanns Bargespräche (Schumann’s Bar Talks) – Germany
By Marieke Schroeder
Soul – Spain
By Ángel Parra / José Antonio Blanco
Theater of Life – Canada
By Peter Svatek