Fatih Akin shifts to comedy with 'Soul Kitchen'

Pic screens on Thursday at Venice Film Festival

VENICE -- Prize-winning German-Turkish director Fatih Akin is turning to comedy in his latest film, "Soul Kitchen," which screened at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.

The film, which is in competition for the top Golden Lion prize, represents a departure from the more serious tones set in Akin's 2004 Berlin Golden Bear winner "Head On" and 2007's "The Edge of Heaven," which won the screenplay award at the Festival de Cannes.

"Soul Kitchen" is a comedy set in a locals-only joint in Hamburg. While the food isn't great, the customers are loyal to the German-Greek chef Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos). When he hires a more talented chef to upgrade his repertoire, the locals' revolt is just one of many troubles to come Zinos' way.

Akin said the shift to comedy was intentional.

"As a director I want to make experiments, and I get bored with directors that make one style. I want to change and go on testing my style," he said.

With "Soul Kitchen," Akin is participating for the first time in the Venice Film Festival, which wraps up Saturday.