'A Touch of Spice' (aka Politiki Kouzina ) was a labour of love for Greek filmmaker Tassos Boulmetis because much of the film is a reflection of his own life.
His alter ego in the film is Fanis Iakovidis played by George Corraface. He’s a professor of astronomy at a Greek University, but an incident provokes memories of growing up in Constantinople with his grandfather who had a spice shop. There is more to each spice than you would think.
When Fanis and his family are deported from Turkey because they are Greek citizens his grandfather and his young friend Saime are left behind.
In Greece he and his family are seen as foreigners, not Greek at all so Fanis turns to the preparation of food to connect him with the people he loved in his youth and he’s drawn to family members who are sympathetic.
This well-intentioned film is rather turgid unfortunately. It has little sense of dramatic rhythm and every little incident is given a significance that seems disproportionate. No wonder so many of the characters look soulful throughout.
It tries to capture that sense of displacement that director Boulmetis obviously felt, he himself was born in Constantinople but moved to Greece at a young age. Perhaps the material was too close to him because it certainly needed a more rigorous, less weighted approach.
Movie is in Greek with English Subtitles
This is the Taiwanese release of the movie and therefore a lot of the descriptions and menu items are in Chinese. The format is NTSC for use in North America (or Taiwan). The movie is in Greek and the DVD includes English subtitles. This movie doesn't include the special features included in the Collector's Edition of Politiki Kouzina available only in PAL / Zone 2 (Europe and Japan) which requires a multi-region DVD player for use in North America and Australia.
Note: This movie is imported from Taiwan due to video format compatability (NTSC). Therefore, the DVD jacket displays information in Chinese. The movie is in its original format from Greece, and Chinese/English subtitles are optional.