Eden – Yum!

Eden (2006) Review 5
Director:Michael Hofmann,
Starring:Josef Ostendorf and Charlotte Roche
Length:98 minutes


Eden,” from Germany – to be shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival on April 21, and commercially thereafter – is “one of those movies” three times over.

It’s one of those… where a brief synopsis will give you no idea what the film is really about.

It’s one of those… that you know soon into the movie will stay with you, a film you will remember… fondly, and with a warm smile, adopt, and cherish.

It’s one of those… with food playing a major role, a film that will send you out to the street in quest of a good restaurant, not just any place.

Oh, and it’s one of those movies that you will really like.

Michael Hofmann, “Eden’s” writer and director, is a newcomer, but he has a veteran’s sure touch. This is a film that unfolds with a quiet rhythm of its own, featuring unforgettable characters, an excellent cast, and – above all – writing that comes from the intellect, keen psychological observations, and above all, the heart.

Eden (2006) Review 7

Charlotte Roche (English-born queen of German music video) plays the title character, an ordinary, even mousy waitress in a small Black Forest resort town that had seen better days. Unexpectedly and yet following an indisputable inner logic, she becomes both the muse and the creation of an obese, world-class chef, played by Josef Ostendorf, a brilliantly economical actor, whose silences speak volumes – and not only of cookbooks.

We first encounter him, as Chef Gregor, in a startling scene. He is plucking a live fowl clean, in the manner of the Wolf in Sondheim’s “Into the Wood,” contemplating the pending consumption of both Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood:
“Think of that scrumptious carnality twice in one day – There’s no possible way to describe what you feel When you’re talking to your meal!”

In this, just the first of a string of unforgettable situations of “Eden,” that mountain of a chef tells the mildly interested bird what lovely herbs and stuffing are in store, in a gently passionate recitation of the recipe, in a love scene that only borders on the obscene, but never crosses the threshold.

And what happens after that? Telling the story would spoil the movie. Go and see “Eden.” It speaks of love and life in terms rarely heard and seen in Hollywood’s products: subtly and wisely.