© Kool/Central

Schnitzelparadies (Wiener Schnitzel Paradise, Het Schnitzelparadijs)
Netherlands 2005

Opening 15 Mar 2007

Directed by: Martin Koolhoven
Writing credits: Khalid Boudou, Marco van Geffen
Principal actors: Mounir Valentyn, Bracha van Doesburgh, Mimoun Osissa, Yahya Gaier, Tygo Gernandt

Good son and bad son live in a small Dutch town. Good son (Mounir Valentyn) is bright, never looks at girls and is destined to study medicine. Bad son (Mohammed Chaara) is satisfied with the study of girls. The father (Sabri Saad El-Hamus), a hardworking Moroccan shop owner and mighty proud of good son, is prematurely bathing in the admiration of his Arab friends. Good son Nordip does not share his father’s dream. There must be more to life than study. The Blue Vulture Hotel has a vacancy for a dishwasher who must be a strong young man. Secretly he starts work and his sheltered life becomes a thing of the past. The hotel kitchen is chaotic, in fact, it is hell. He finds himself amidst a horde of boisterous characters, shouting, spitting, smoking, laughing or swearing in all languages and surrounded by sweltering heat from steaming hot pots and sizzling pans. Will he survive the mean, intriguing cook Sander (Micha Hulshof) and lazy drunken boss Willem (Frank Lammers)? Yes, because an angel, beautiful blond Agnes (Bracha van Doesburgh), has entered hell, which now spells “paradise”. Among stacks of dirty dishes and burned, tough Schnitzels sweet and tender love begins to bloom. However, today’s world is fast and so is the tempo in the kitchen. Before long, hot kisses are exchanged in cool rooms, watched over by naked slabs of slaughtered pork, until jealous Sanders becomes a witness. Paradise is shaken and matters get complicated: dishwashing, dark-haired Moroccan on one side – blond, charming niece of hotel owner on the other. We all know that could be a problem but none that Dutch director Martin Koolhoven couldn’t solve.

His tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted comedy is a delight to watch. The young, energetic cast all act with great bravura. It feels good to laugh without having to find excuses for politically incorrect jokes. This scurrile love story was the most successful Dutch film since its release in 2005. It was selected to show at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, as a Variety’s Critics' Choice in the Europe Now category. (Birgit Schrumpf)

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