‘The Cakemaker’ (‘Der Kuchenmacher’): Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2017

Rookie executive Ofir Raul Graizer casts visitor Tim Kalkhof as a German fritter cook who travels to Jerusalem to get closer to a mother of his passed lover.

After a genocide of his part-time boyfriend, a taciturn German fritter cook moves to Jerusalem to work in a cafeteria of his lover’s widow in The Cakemaker (Der Kuchenmacher), a entrance underline from Israeli writer-director Ofir Raul Graizer. This is a kind of polite, inside melodrama that competence have a theoretically bisexual protagonist nonetheless that’s been done — or should that review neutered? — for a widest probable (straight) audience. To counterfeit a censor Jay Weissberg, this is a kind of odd film that won’t scatter a feathers of a grandma in Manitoba, nonetheless it’s firm to make some-more perceptive audiences groan.

Not usually is there frequency any lushly shot food porn here — sawdust-dry cookies usually don’t demeanour unequivocally voluptuous and are even reduction appealing when flashy with chemically colored toppings — nonetheless there’s frequency a soupcon of a physicality of odd enterprise during all, since heterosexual kissing gets prolonged and palatable close-ups. And instead of plumbing a inlet of a potentially unfounded thematic good that is a intersection of grief and desire, this is a kind of respectfully pale play that creates being odd and being in anguish demeanour equally dull.

Nonetheless, a intrigue and food angles make this easy to marketplace as a cinematic homogeneous of magnanimous comfort food, even nonetheless some-more cultured LGBTQ audiences will righteously credit Graizer of carrying his cake and eating it, too.

Thomas (newcomer Tim Kalkhof), a baker of a title, is a unequivocally detached chairman with apparently 0 family and friends in Berlin. How this emotionally apart loner ever managed to spin a partner of married Israeli businessman Oren (Roy Miller), who is in a German collateral during slightest once a month, is conveniently mislaid in an ellipsis. What’s also mislaid is any thought of a passion or abyss of feeling a twin shared; Graizer fades to black even before a dual men’s lips have overwhelmed in a film’s singular same-sex lick and their bond isn’t explored serve until an plain and unequivocally brief flashback many later.

After training that Oren has died in a automobile accident, Thomas travels to Jerusalem on a one-way sheet (what happens to his coffee-and-cake emporium in Berlin, that he seemed to run on his own, is never explained — can he means to usually tighten it for an unfixed time?). Thomas knew about Oren’s wife, Anat (Sarah Adler), and their child son, and notwithstanding a fact he doesn’t pronounce Hebrew and is German, Anat, who has no thought who Thomas is, hires him to work during her coffee bar. (About a usually thing we so know about Oren is that he clearly had a cafe-owner fetish.) Here, too, there are questions of proof that don’t supplement up: Thomas’ baking skills will assistance make a primarily frequently dull cafeteria a success, nonetheless if business wasn’t going so good when Thomas seemed on her doorstep, since would Anat sinecure anyone, generally since she doesn’t nonetheless know that Thomas turns out to be an glorious fritter chef?

Thomas is, of course, a fish out of a H2O in Jerusalem and clueless about a manners that need to be reputable in sequence to keep a cafe’s kosher certificate, that becomes an ungainly embellishment for a physical and eremite army during work in Israeli society. Indeed, in some ways a film seems to wish to speak about overlapping and intersecting labels — Anat identifies as a physical Jew, for example, who prefers to keep her kosher certificate since it is good for business — but afterwards Graizer tiptoes around a elephant in a room: Thomas’ sexuality. He never identifies as gay, bisexual or fluid, that creates it even harder to know what a elaborating attribute with Anat unequivocally means to him.

Since his impression isn’t an open book to start with, and he doesn’t have anyone to speak to about his surprising difficulty during home or in a Holy City (where he doesn’t seem to correlate with anyone who’s not partial of Anat’s family), it’s even harder to get a hoop on his feelings. Does he wish to be with Anat since she’s a closest he can get to his now-dead lover? Did an Israeli wonder-woman maybe spin a happy German male straight? Or would he have depressed in adore with her regardless of her tie to Oren? How does he feel about carrying to censor his standing as Oren’s once-lover to his widow? When his impression stares into a mid-distance once again, it seems like Kalkhof competence be seeking himself some of a same questions.

The director’s joining issues also extend to other areas of his entrance film. Thomas, for example, finds a red Speedo that used to go to Oren and that he subsequently wears in one shot, and Anat decks out her new worker in Oren’s garments when Thomas has come over for a Shabbat cooking one stormy night and he arrives wet. But a executive doesn’t pull these setups to their judicious conclusion. We are looking during characters in mourning, one of a many manly and churningly treacherous feelings famous to man. And these people are confronted with a garments of their passed partner and nonetheless there’s no drama, no passionate flare-ups and no inapt or during slightest confused behavior. Graizer doesn’t even advise a metaphorical definition that’s so apparently there for a taking, as Anat’s thought to dress Thomas in Oren’s garments could visually advise how he competence be holding over Oren’s purpose in her life. So since embody these scenes during all?

Graizer too mostly seems fearful to potentially provoke anyone (but generally true audiences along for a ride) and too respectful to try a darker recesses of grief, enterprise and sexuality. One doesn’t even need a some-more pithy proceed of someone like Joao Pedro Rodrigues, whose Odete touches on many identical themes; a tonally inside film like Lilting, that also looked during secrets, happy desire, being stranded between cultures and how a memory of a desired one can surprise actions in a benefaction day, felt many some-more emotionally pure and honest and so affecting. But after The Cakemaker‘s over, audiences will shrug, now forget a doubtful characters and not even run to a nearest patisserie.

Aside from a weaknesses of a screenplay and Kalkhof’s unbending performance, a rest of a expel and technical contributions are fine.

Production companies: Laila Films, Film Base Berlin
Cast: Tim Kalkhof, Sarah Adler, Roy Miller, Zohar Strauss, Sandra Sade
Writer-Director: Ofir Raul Graizer
Producer: Itai Tami
Director of photography: Omri Aloni
Production designers: Daniel Kossow, Yael Bibelnik
Costume designer: Lilu Goldfine
Editor: Michal Openheim
Music: Dominique Charpentier
Sales: Films Boutique

In English, Hebrew, German
No rating, 104 minutes