Review: ‘Love Steaks’

Love Steaks is Jakob Lass’s second feature film, telling a frank and funny story of opposites attracting in an unassuming setting. It is screening on March 20th as  part of The Berlin Film Society‘s spring programme, and Berlin Film Journal provides a first-look review.
Director: Jakob Lass, 89 Minutes

Set against the monotony of life in the service industry, Love Steaks is a rare breed; a film combining romance with comedy but careful to avoid slipping into dangerous romcom territory. The story of two very different young people adrift in their lives who are brought together through sheer coincidence in their place of work is touching due to the realness of the portrayals delivered by talented young actors Lana Cooper (Lara) and Franz Rogowski (Clemens). Lass sidesteps cliches through the introduction of very real problems and themes, and whilst the story of the beautiful but troubled young woman and the well-meaning man who wants to save her is not a breathtakingly original idea, it is the sincereity of Cooper and Rogowski’s performances that allow the film to succeed. Rogowski is particularly magnificent in the softness his portrayal of Clemens, his longing glances and puppy-dog good nature saying everything without an utterance of a word.

The film delights in its strangeness, in one scene Lara ordering Clemens to strip naked and cover his body in raw meat, though such is indicative of the bizarreness of love and -perhaps even more so- what people are willing to put themselves through for it. Lara and Clemens collide rather than come together slowly, and despite their obvious differences they are drawn together like opposite magnetic poles. Their relationship is turbulent and volatile, and Lass is keen to remind us that love is less of a picnic and more of a expansive culinary experience.

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A refreshingly honest but deeply funny story, Love Steaks is complimented by its crisp cinematography and  an unconventional score that matches perfectly the quirky tone of the film. It is poignant in its simplicity, devastating in certain scenes, and a compelling film from a rising star of a director.

 

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