Intersections of global and local in Soul Kitchen (2009): Faith Akin's Heimatfilm
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Fatih Akm famously described Soul Kitchen (2009) as his Heimatfilm, the film he owed Hamburg, the city in which he lived from the age of eight (Akm et al., 201 ). The film depicts Zinos's struggle to save his restaurant, the Soul Kitchen; a struggle that is exacerbated by his lover's departure for a post as foreign correspondent in China and by a bad back. Akm's statement prompts the question of how Heimat is imagined by the director, whose films explore issues of intercultural and multicultural identity and belonging experienced by secondgeneration immigrant families, and whose own dual cultural allegiances led him to accept the Cannes Film Festival award for Auf der anderen Seite (2007) in the name of Turkish cinema. However, little critical attention has been directed toward Soul Kitchen, let alone to his representation of Heimat, despite the film's success in winning the Venice Film Festival's Special Jury Prize in 2009. Noah Isenberg includes a brief account of the film in his analysis of the intersections of cultural codes in Akm's films, focusing on Akm's use of the soundtrack to avoid ethnic essentialism and all notions of fixed identity ( 61 ). David Gramling also touches on Soul Kitchen in his discussion of Akm's cinematic approach to multilingualism and translingual identity issues. Given his theoretical focus on transnational, multicultural films, Gramling reads the film as "a dubiously marketable transnational film" in which Akm returns to monolingualism, moving away from questions of interlanguage and semiodiversity, and revealing the tropes of migration cinema to be less relevant to the experience of second- and third-generation migrants (364).