Public Announcement

Dear Friends:

The Greek movie POLITIKI KOUZINA / A TOUCH OF SPICE opens at the West Newton Theater on May 12. This movie is a wonderful culinary experience and a visual feast. The film has been enthusiastically embraced in its native Greece and garnered ten National Awards. Long Lines formed outside the theaters in New York when the film was first shown in the US at the Tribeca Film Festival.

San Francisco Weekly states POLITIKI KOUZINA 'will unseat MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, not to mention dear ZORBA THE GREEK as the premier Greek film.' The Herald Tribune gives it the Highest Grade A and says 'Compelling from the get-go. Food As Passion.'

POLITIKI KOUZINA takes place over a meal, while flashbacks reveal the story of Fanis Lakovidis and the real-life deportation of 30,000 Greeks from Istanbul, which we Greeks call Constantinople, in 1964. As a boy, Fanis learns about spices and other ingredients from his grandfather; he works as a cook, then an Astronomer. The film follows his journey back to his childhood home in Istanbul where he visits the grandfather he has not seen since the age of seven.

In affectionate, uplifting scenes, POLITIKI KOUZINA portrays Fanis relationship with his beloved grandfather, the pain he suffered from being thrown out Turkey at an early age, and the difficulties his family faced as they adjusted to life in Greece.

'Both food and life require salt to be tastier', Grandpa says. And even the word 'astronomer' is concealed in the term gastronomer.

Don't miss this unique Greek cultural experience starting May 12 at the West Newton Theater on 1296 Washington Street in West Newton, playing daily at 11:00am | 1:30pm | 3:55pm | 6:25pm | 8:40pm. Tickets are for sale at the box office which can be reached at (617) 964-8074.

The trailer and more information on the movie can be found at

Find the full review for POLITIKI KOUZINA from the The Herald Tribune below.

Gastronomy rhymes with astronomy, my grandfather often told me.
Pepper is like the sun; hot mercury is cayenne, that's hot, too. Venus
is cinnamon, sweet and bitter, like a woman. And the earth, can you guess
which spice the earth is? Salt. Everything comes to life under its influence

Herald Tribune
Food is potent metaphor in 'Touch of Spice'

Herald Tribune) ? By Abby Weingarten ? Food as passion. It's a theme moviegoers have long observed in films from 'Like Water for Chocolate' to the more recent 'Chocolat.' Food is the lifeblood of humanity, garnishing tender moments and adding pizzazz to personal experience.

The plot device surfaces again in 'Politiki Kouzina / A Touch of Spice,' a semi-autobiographical dramedy by writer/director Tassos Boulmetis. Yet somehow, this Greek/Turkish subtitled feature does not feel redundant. Rooted in novel narratives and sweeping, dreamlike cinematography, the much-used concept never looked so fresh.

Compelling from the get-go, the first shot is of a mother dabbing sugar onto her breast to lure a nursing infant. The baby, Fanis Iakovides, grows into an astrophysicist and closet chef (played as an adult by George Corraface). His upbringing is rich with culinary imagery, stemming back to a childhood spent in the Constantinople spice shop of his Grandpa Vassilis (Tassos Bandis). There, a young Fanis (Markos Osse) witnesses Grandpa giving customers unorthodox tips, like to use cinnamon instead of cumin in their meatballs. 'Cinnamon makes people look each other in the eyes,' he says.

Grandpa's wisdom is venerable, and he teaches Fanis how everything in existence (from the galaxies to etymology) traces back to simple spices. Pepper, he says, is akin to the sun that warms and burns. And "both food and life require salt to be tastier." Even the word "astronomer," Grandpa says, is concealed in the term "gastronomer."

The bond between Fanis and Grandpa is taut, but it is later torn when riots erupt in Cyprus and the Turkish government orders all Greek citizens deported. The family is divided, as Fanis and parents unwillingly relocate to Athens.

In Greece, a maladjusted Fanis discovers his only outlet is cooking, which he does precociously. But his parents worry about his stereotypically un-masculine hobby and lock him out of the kitchen. This suppression leads Fanis on a more pragmatic, scientific track, and consequently, his world begins to lose flavor.

Not until adulthood, while Fanis is working as a professor, does his soul come full circle. It is then that a series of events, from an estranged romance to a death, finally steer him back to his calling.

(Posting date 15 May 2006)

HCS readers may also wish to view other articles and press releases about HBN in our extensive, permanent archives under the Hellenic Business Network section of our site archives or at the URL

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