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The Berlin Pastry Chef (2017) Review

We have before us the first feature film of the hitherto short film specialist. The artist in question is Ofir Raul Graizer, who offers us a story that contains autobiographical elements. 

The resulting film is called The Berlin Repostero, which I now comment on.

Opening scene

The opening scene is made up of the pastry chef, who lives in Berlin and runs a pastry shop, and an Israeli man who comes and goes from Germany to Israel (and vice versa) on business. The fact is that this man (named Oren), married with a son, falls in love with the pastry chef (named Thomas). One is German and the other is Jewish. In the next scene, Oren is seen leaving Thomas’s house on one of the German periodic visits. The next step is formed by some calls that Thomas makes to Oren, and that Oren does not answer. The thing is that Oren has died in a car accident.

In the next step we see Thomas going to Jerusalem, to follow the trail of his beloved through the environments that he frequented. So we see Thomas going to an establishment, which is also a bakery, where Oren’s wife works. This woman is called Anat and is starring Sarah Adler. Therefore, from this moment on, the film focuses on the relationship between the two. What comes next generates a very curious process. Thomas arrives at the establishment, to meet Anat anonymously. To such an extent the play turns out so well, that Anat signs him as a pastry kitchen assistant. From here, Thomas begins to occupy the affective spaces that Oren occupied… and so on until the cake is discovered, and never better said.

The story that The Berlin Repostero tells is simple in terms of facts, although the subject is emotionally complex and delicate to deal with. And the result is the best that could be expected. Therefore, my applause to the director and the two leading actors, both superlative. Pay attention to their names: Sarah Adler (Anat) and Tim Kalkhof (Thomas). And also, let’s take note of the director’s name: Ofir Raul Graizer. We look forward to his next work, as his way of working is most convincing.

The other element of interest, as decisive as that of the intimate relationships that are unleashed, is the criticism (or so it seemed to me) that the director proposes before certain inflexible forms related to religion. In the film, practicing and strict Jews are personified, believing and non-strict Jews, and a Christian (Protestant, I suppose), who is Thomas, the young German who moves to Israel to live a long season, which, as I have already told you, results in Thomas’ immersion in the existential universe of Oren, already practicing almost as a father, already exercising as Anat’s lover. The process that triggers the outcome is closely related to these intransigent religious forms. However, the final scene, with Anat as the only protagonist, is a great solution to such a delicate issue.

Conclusion

Consequently, The Berlin Repostero can be one of the film complet of the season, as long as the use that some may make of the labels “gay cinema” does not mislead the pro fan. I must also say that the story, assuming that it was all autobiographical, seemed close to fantastic realism. That is, it deals with something that does not usually happen, due to the number of coincidences that occur in it. Therefore, what provides the most decisive credibility is the performance of the great actors who are Tim Kalkhof and Sarah Adler, who make the magical become real (as real as history admits).

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