Synopsis by Josh Ralske
The historical conflicts between Greece and Turkey and the lives of those caught in between are explored in Tassos Boulmetis' debut feature, the autobiographical drama A Touch of Spice. A box-office smash in Greece, the film won the Audience Award at the 2003 Thessaloniki Film Festival, and had its U.S. premiere in competition at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. After a brief prologue, which introduces its astronomer-chef protagonist, Fanis (Georges Corraface of Escape From L.A.), who lives in Greece and is preparing for a visit from his grandfather, Vassilis (Tassos Bandis), the film flashes back to his boyhood 35 years earlier in Istanbul, where Vassilis, who owns a grocery store, teaches Fanis about the connection of various spices to life and to the universe. The precocious Fanis makes a deal with a girl he likes, Saime (played as an adult by Basak Köklükaya), that he'll cook for her if she dances for him. Eventually, political turmoil intrudes on the family's happiness, and Fanis' father, Savas (Ieroklis Michailidis), a Greek, is forced to take his wife (Renia Louizidou) and son out of the country. They settle in Athens, but never get over the trauma of being deported. In addition to missing his grandfather, Fanis never gets over his connection to Saime. His grandfather repeatedly promises to visit, and to bring the girl along, but always has an excuse for canceling the trip at the last minute. Meanwhile, Fanis grows up despondent and depressed. He quickly develops a great talent for cooking, which his parents strongly discourage. It's not until he's in his forties that Fanis makes the voyage back to Istanbul to resolve his relationship with the two most important people in his life.
dance [art], deportation, girlfriend, grandfather, grandson, political-unrest, astronomy, chef