Culinary Cinema on Berlinale sidebar menu

Seven of the 11 films screening in sidebar are docus

COLOGNE, Germany -- Following the success of Robert Kenner's "Food, Inc.", which opened the Berlin Film Festival's Culinary Cinema sidebar last year, Berlin has decided to load its plate with documentaries.

Seven of the 11 films screening as part of the 2010 Culinary Cinema lineup are non-fiction, including an inside look at a pastry competition in Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker's "Kings of Pastry" and "The Botany of Desire," Michael Schwarz's adaptation of the book on plant passion by "Food, Inc." author Michael Pollan.

Berlin is stretching the definition of food issues to fit in several docs that focus on ecological and social themes. These include Fredrik Gertten's "Bananas!" about the legal battle between Nicaraguan fruit pickers and Dole Food over the use of a banned pesticide; and Chris Smith's "Collapse" in which radical reporter Michael Ruppert apocalyptic vision of a world without crude oil.

Tilda Swinton, last year's Berlin jury president, will return to present Luca Guadagnino's melodrama "I Am Love," which, despite tenuous culinary connections, will get a seat at the table. As will "Iranian Cookbook" director Mohammad Shirvani's look at six housewives in Tehran preparing a meal during Ramadan.

The screenings, which run Feb. 14-19, will be followed by dinners "inspired" by the films, prepared by some of Germany's leading chefs -- Thomas Kammeier, Michael Kempf, Lea Linster, Christian Lohse, and Tim Raue.