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Sarah Adler, Tim Kalkhof

“THE CAKEMAKER” My rating: B (Opens Aug. 10 at the Tivoli)

113 minutes | No MPAA rating

The movies have long recognized the link between food and eroticism (“Tom Jones,” “Like Water for Chocolate,” “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman” and countless more).  Usually it’s played for laughs or swooning romance.

The Israeli “The Cakemaker”  aims for the mysterious and the melancholy.

Ofir Raul Graizer’s feature debut is  a study in carefully calibrated yearning that centers on a young man whose motives and inner thoughts are carefully guarded. It takes nearly all of the film’s two hours for his true self to emerge.

In the movie’s opening minutes an Israeli man visits a Berlin bakery. Oren (Roy Miller) is an engineer whose work brings him to Germany several times a year.  Waiting on him is the shop’s baker, Thomas (Tim Kalkhof).

In what seems like only seconds, writer/director Graizer depicts the men’s romance over several months. There’s no scene of courtship or getting to know one another…the narrative jumps from casual conversation to passionate kiss.

After one such visit Oren returns to his wife and young son in Israel. Thomas never hears from him again, despite repeated calls to his lover’s cell phone number. After many weeks Thomas shows up in Israel.

He has learned that Oren died in a car accident. Now he begins observing (or is it stalking?) Oren’s widow, Anat (Sarah Adler) and son Itai (Tamir Ben Yehuda).

Anat operates a hole-in-the-wall cafe; without mentioning that  he knew her late husband, Thomas takes a job there and soon is cranking out delicious cookies, cakes and pies (though he does run afoul of Kosher laws, which ban a non-Jew from operating the oven in a Kosher kitchen). (more…)

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