Berlinale: Culinary Cinema

Culinary Cinema: Life Is Delicate

The 12th Culinary Cinema will be held under the motto “Life Is Delicate” from February 18 to 23, 2018. Nine documentaries and a fictional film focussing on the relationship between food, culture, and politics are being presented this year.

“When it comes to cultural and political matters, sensitive decisions have to be made all the time. It’s like in a kitchen, where it’s also tricky to make, at the very least, something edible and, at the very best, something delicate,” Festival Director Dieter Kosslick says in explaining the motto.

At 7.30 pm, the main programme of Culinary Cinema will present three world premieres, as well as an international and a German premiere. Following these screenings, top chefs Thomas Bühner, Sonja Frühsammer, Michael Kempf, Flynn McGarry, and The Duc Ngo will take turns serving menus inspired by the films in the Gropius Mirror Restaurant.

Chef Flynn, a US documentary by Cameron Yates, will open the programme. The film’s protagonist, Flynn McGarry, was born in 1998 and is already a famous chef. In the film we see how at the early age of ten, he transforms his parents’ living room in Los Angeles into a pop-up restaurant called Eureka and serves multi-course menus. Culinary superstars are impressed by his dishes. The New York press celebrates him as a ‘culinary prodigy’. He is looking forward to the premiere of his film and to cooking in the Culinary Cinema’s kitchen. In addition, at 10.00 am on February 22, 2018, during “Youth Food Cinema” Day, Flynn McGarry will cook together with school kids. Afterwards he will talk with experts about how to prepare tasty food with good, clean and fair products, and the positive impact using them has on living conditions, the climate and sustainable development worldwide. The event is taking place in collaboration with Engagement Global and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In La quête d’Alain Ducasse (The Quest of Alain Ducasse) by Gilles de Maistre, culinary visionary Ducasse defines his task: “We create memories that last.” To accomplish it he tirelessly travels the world, inspects his 23 restaurants on three continents and maintains his 18 Michelin stars. In honour of Alain Ducasse, chef de cuisine Thomas Bühner (three Michelin stars, „la vie“, Osnabrück) will be at the hob.

Vines have been cultivated in Georgia for around 8,000 years. But during the Soviet regime, ancient methods of vinification were almost lost. In Our Blood Is Wine by Emily Railsback we experience how the tradition is being revived. Michael Kempf (two Michelin stars, „Facil“, Berlin) will be interpreting Georgia’s gastronomic heritage.

In Cuba, culinary traditions were also being neglected for a long time. But now they say that “the taste is back” on the island. The road movie Cuban Food Stories by Asori Soto takes us to remote places where delicacies are prepared al fresco. Sonja Frühsammer (one Michelin star, „Frühsammers Restaurant“, Berlin) will be paying culinary homage to Cuba.

After participating in 2016, director Eric Khoo will be returning to Culinary Cinema with his new fictional film, Ramen Teh, set in the multi-ethnic city state and nation of Singapore. Here food serves as a means not only to preserve painful memories, but also to achieve reconciliation. The Duc Ngo ("Culinary Innovator 2017" at Berlin Master Chefs), who has several popular restaurants in Berlin’s Kantstrasse, will prepare an Asian menu.

The late-night screenings (where no meals are served afterwards) explore many aspects of the culinary cosmos. The Green Lie by Werner Boote unmasks the sometimes subtle, often crass methods of ‘greenwashing’ with which companies deceive consumers. In The Game Changers by Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos, outstanding athletes show how they maintain a healthy weight and stay in form without eating meat. Patrimonio by Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale is also encouraging: in this film, Mexicans manage to protect their village from takeover by a US construction company. How a group of women in a Lebanese refugee camp succeeds in organising a food truck and getting out of the camp is recounted in Soufra by Thomas Morgan. In Tuscany, the views of the landscape are magnificent but there is no future in sight for the peasant farmers in Lorello e Brunello by Jacopo Quadri.

“The delicate motif of remembering and forgetting, of reflecting on the past and a new beginning, is typical of food and can be found in many films of the 12th Culinary Cinema," says curator Thomas Struck.

During “TeaTime” at 5.00 pm on February 19, 2018, this year’s motto of Culinary Cinema will be interpreted from the perspective of gastronomy, medicine, and chemistry. Chef de cuisine Thomas Bühner, medical doctor Thomas Ellrott, and physicist Thomas Vilgis will give theoretical and practical tips and tasters from their “Scientific Cooking Show – T to the Power of Three”, which they developed at the Osnabrück University.

Berlinale Street Food

From February 15 to 25, the Berlinale Street Food Market will once again provide festival visitors with international delicacies. In collaboration with the BITE CLUB and Slow Food, the Culinary Cinema will present five food trucks at the heart of the festival, next to the Berlinale Palast.

Five “BITE CLUB Winter Warmers” will be set up at that familiar spot in the Joseph-von-Eichendorff-Gasse, at the corner of Alte Potsdamer Straße:

Organic cheese from the Allgäu will again be grated over freshly made Spätzle at the “Heisser Hobel”, a crowd favourite. Festival visitors will find traditional Mexican dishes at “Eddielicious”. “Fräulein Kimchi” will whip up tasty international Korean soul food. “Tommi‘s Burger Joint” will grill organic beef and vegetable patties for burgers served on home-baked buns. And at “Pecados”, visitors can enjoy classic empanadas from Uruguay.

Films in the Culinary Cinema can be nominated for the Glashütte Original Documentary Award (endowed with 50,000 Euro).

The Culinary Cinema fosters a partnership with the International Slow Food Movement.


Culinary Cinema
Potsdamer Straße 5
10785 Berlin