‘It’s better than sex, isn’t it?’

Food has the power to change your life and this is one of the underlying themes of the German film Eden, showing as part of the Perth International Arts Festival.

The story as described in the festival programme is simplistic and may have kept people away. It is no chicks movie and although there is resolution for some of the characters it is not neat and tidy like I feel the preview reads. Like all good cooking, you have to get messy before you can taste the real thing. The synopsis provided by the San Francisco International Film Festival (2006) is much better.

My first reaction when the film finished was still feeling anger at the character Xaver, Eden’s husband. What a jerk! Without giving too much a way, I think he got off too easily.

The reason I enjoyed the film is that the emotions of love, rage, jealousy, friendship, intimacy and pleasure were portrayed very cleverly by all the actors with very little dialogue. Especially Josef Ostendorf as the chef who was pretty amazing how he was able to tell his story and relate to the other characters through actions, expressions, and very few words.

The interview with director Michael Hofmann by Bénédicte Prot in Cineuropa was interesting reading, especially how the idea for the film came about. Except that I would not have described Eden as a comedy.

Reviews that I found were not showering the film with accolades, but having seen the film I disagree with the disparaging critics. I think the film was more powerful for the demonstrated awkwardness between the lightness and seriousness of the subjects explored.

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