Director: Sandra Nettelbeck

109 minutes, Germany, 2001, Subtitled, Colour, DVD

The inspiration for Scott Hick’s paltry No Reservations (2007) – with Catherine Zeta-Jones failing to cause a stir in the central role – Bella Martha (Mostly Martha) is the much less cheesy version of German writer-director Sandra Nettelbeck’s original story about a perfectionist chef forced to review her unyielding work ethic when a tragic family accident leaves a young niece in her charge.

The restaurant where most of the action takes place – a sparse, sophisticated affair – is run almost entirely by women, that is until the arrival of vivacious Mario, hired to fill in for Lea, Martha’s heavily pregnant sous-chef. Although Martha fiercely opposes Mario’s cheery presence in her kitchen, she notices the positive effect he has on her dejected niece who, struck down by grief, has been refusing to eat. With mouth-watering dishes featuring in almost every scene, this is an engaging study on the intricate connection between appetite and well-being. (Notes by Alice Butler.)

This screening will be followed by a choice of either Fillet of Salmon with Linguine and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto; Leg of Lamb with Rosemary & Garlic served with Roast Potatoes and Green Beans; or Warm Goat’s Cheese and Roasted Vegetable Salad in the IFI Café Bar.

Tickets €20 (free list suspended). Online booking is available at www.ifi.ie or call the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477.


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