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The Cakemaker

Winner of 7 Israeli Film Awards, including Best Film!

Drool-worthy confectionery expresses unspoken emotions in The Cakemaker, the first feature from the writer/director Ofir Raul Graizer and a master class in exquisite restraint.

Poster for the award-winning Israeli romance The CakemakerBeginning as one thing and ending as quite another, this softly lit melodrama follows Thomas (Tim Kalkhof), a reserved German pastry chef with a cozy café in Berlin and a handsome Israeli lover, Oren (Roy Miller). Once a month or so, Oren arrives in Berlin for business – and a generous slice of Black Forest gâteau – leaving a wife, Anat (Sarah Adler), and young son back in Jerusalem.

When Oren dies suddenly between visits, Thomas, obeying some primal instinct and with no clear purpose, immediately travels to Jerusalem. Concealing his identity, he takes a part-time job in the small cafe run by Oren’s weary young widow, so impressing her and her customers with his piping skills that he soon becomes a fixture.

This doesn’t sit well with Moti (Zohar Strauss), Anat’s Orthodox brother-in-law, whose disapproval of the lonely gentile in their midst subtly pokes at historical animus. Yet social and religious undercurrents remain mostly muted; and while Moti might be worried about the newcomer’s effect on the café’s kosher certification, he’s also kind enough to ensure that Thomas doesn’t eat Shabbat supper alone.

Sad and sweet, and with a rare lyricism, The Cakemaker believes in a love that neither nationality, sexual orientation nor religious belief can deter. Some may find its reticence off-putting or even irritating, but at heart it’s just a tender love triangle with a ghost in the middle. And a mouthwatering abundance of crème fraîche.

– Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

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