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4.5 out of 5 stars
A Touch Of Spice [DVD]
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2006
Touching, beautiful, emotional and deep while at the same time funny.

The story of two cities, Athens and Istanbul, is revolving around the habits and behavior of the Greeks living in Istanbul and moving to Greece to live there after some political turmoil in the 50s.

The story starts with young Fanis in Istanbul, his introduction to many aspects of life by his family either in the kitchen or in the spice stores of his grandfather and ends there many years later when the grandfather is dieing.

Through these years, Fanis became a professor of astrology but never forgot his first love in Istanbul, a beautiful young Turkish neighbor and all the teaching by his grandfather.

The photography is exceptional captivating and makes you just ready to visit both cities.

This very same photography is full of symbolism with the camera moving freely into the space and the essence of the locations, capturing the binding elements of the two cities and the people.

The music is magnificent and again is able to identify common themes, sounds and tunes that link the two countries.

The kitchen is of course the centerpiece of the action.

Cooking is not just a necessity; it is the very essence of family gathering, decision-making, fun, challenge, and family life.

This film identified some strong similarities of both peoples and presented them in a wonderful emotional and realistic way.

Hospitality, the importance of the family, cooking and eating as a means of social and family strengthening, love and respect are all aspects that link the two people.

In fact, once we saw this film we started cooking a lot more dishes from the "Istanbul Cuisine" or as the title of the film in Greek is "Politiki Kouzina " which means just that.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2007
I've never seen a film based on the underlying conflicts between the Greeks and the Turks until I watched A Touch Of Spice! But this is no war film. This is a touching, unusual, funny, sad, romantic, and in a way - educational drama about a Greek boy who grew up in Istanbul in the 1950's/60's, and how he was influenced by his Grandfather. I don't want to tell you anymore about the story, you'll have to watch it to find out what happens! It is quite a slow film, but don't let this put you off. It really is a delight to watch, taking in all the cultural differences along the way.

If you know the history of the conflicts between the Turks and Greeks you'll understand this story and enjoy it (whilst at the same time, feeling tinged with sadness). For others who don't know much about it, you may see this film as educational, and be inspired to do further research!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2010
This film is beautiful. Sensitive, romantic, delicately sad but amusing as well. The soundtrack on its own is a haunting music. I love the hints of history and politics of the time, like hints of cinammon in a cake and hints of spices in a casserole!... And lots of mouth watering cooking! Cooking and politics blend in a magical, personal way. Sweet and sour emotions too, in a love affair, in the relationship with two countries, two worlds... the East and the West. (Set in the 1960's in Constantinople and Athens, with a hinted background of Turkish policies regarding ethnic minorities and Greek politics in Greece during the dictatorship). With a pinch of humour! Cannot recommend enough!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I absolutely love this film. You will capture essences of Cinema Paradiso, the Mistress of Spices and Pelle The Conqueror in this but this really does have a special touch.
The story centres on two things - the tensions between between the Greeks and the Turks in the 50's which led to the deportation of some Greek nationals resident in Turkey back to Greece set against the relationship between a boy and his grandfather.
His grandfather instils in a young boy a love of cooking and a distinctive style that involves addition of spices to add colour, flavour and life. However, the film tells a number of stories and moves well into themes of life choices, romance and family ties. It is an evocative film and a very honest film and the screen is always filled with something of interest.
It is witty, affectionate, touching, unusual, moving, emotional and romantic piece which tells you something about the lives of others and something about how the life of one person can be directed by their upbringing and the lessons they learn early.
This is the kind of film, subtitled as it is, that I adore and I cannot fail but to give it my fullest recommendation because not only is it a great film to watch in company but it is an inspirational piece which has a great story filmed with a great love of its locations
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2008
A beautifull and sincere movie about a man, who had to leave Constantinopel (Istanbul now) as a boy.The whole family left, but the grandfather who owns a spice shop stays behind.
The boy grows up in the store and the grandfather tells the boy about spices and life. How spices can spice your life.
In Greece he fiercely misses his grandfather and his turkish girlfriend.
He never gets to see his grandfather again, untill the old man's deathbed.
Touching movie!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2010
This was bought purely because it is a Greek language film but it is a real delight. A gentle story which captures the people and places - both Istanbul and Greece. It shows the people uprooted back to greece when thrown out by the Turkish government.
If you liked 'il postino'and 'cinema paradiso' you'll probably enjoy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2010
I enjoyed the film: there was a nice dollop of humour among the subtle political comment. The original Greek subtitles have been removed, so Greek-speakers might want to switch on the English subtitles -- as there are several flashback scenes where just Turkish is spoken.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2012
This is a great film and gives a real insight into how Greeks were exiled from Asia Minor/Turkey over the years and now there is only a very few who managed to remian in turkey holding on to their Greek roots.

It is a lovely film a bit on the Arty side but very Cinema Paradiso style in cinematography.

I loved it! It has some very funny moments in it!

You must watch it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2011
I loved this poignant film of Fanis and his family and how politics dictated he became separated from his wonderfully wise grandfather and his childhood sweetheart.
There were plenty of humourous moments and the aroma of cooking the traditional dishes of Greece and Turkey but be prepared to also have your hanky at the ready and I don't mean because of the onions.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2011
This movie has everything from tragedy to humor. Furthermore it sheds light on a little known are of European history and is also a moving record of a family caught in an awful dilemma.
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