The Cakemaker / HaOfe MeBerlin

Poster for The Cakemaker / HaOfe MeBerlin Thomas, a young and talented German baker, is having an affair with Oren, an Israeli married man who dies in a car crash. Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking answers. Keeping his secret for himself, he starts working for Anat, his lover's widow, who owns a small café. Although not fully kosher and despised by the religious, his delicious cakes turn the place into a city attraction. Finding himself involved in Anat's life in a way far beyond his anticipation, Thomas will stretch his lie to a point of no return.

Original title:
HaOfe MeBerlin
104 minutes
Ofir Raul Graizer

Shown at

  1. 15th Annual JCC Rockland International Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  2. 15th Israeli Film Festival (Canadian Film Institute) - 2018
  3. 20th Annual Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival (Detroit) - 2018
  4. 22nd Annual Hartford Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  5. 22nd Annual Jewish Film Festival of Dallas - 2018
  6. 23rd Denver Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  7. 25th Annual International Film Fest (Eastern Connecticut) - 2019
  8. 26th Portland Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  9. 26th Toronto Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  10. Asheville Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  11. Athens Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  12. Atlanta Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  13. Austin Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  14. Austin Jewish Film Festival - 2020
  15. Baltimore Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  16. Barshop JCC Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  17. Berkshire Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  18. Beth Tzedec Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  19. Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  20. Brussels Jewish International Film Festival - 2018
  21. Budapesti Zsidó és Izraeli Filmfesztivál - 2017
  22. Buffalo International Jewish Film - 2019
  23. Central Massachusetts Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  24. Charlotte Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  25. Cherry Hill Volvo Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  26. Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema - 2018
  27. Chicago Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  28. Columbus Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  29. Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  30. Dayton Jewish International Film Festival - 2018
  31. East Bay International Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  32. Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  33. Harrisburg Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  34. Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  35. Honolulu Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  36. Houston Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  37. Israel Film Festival - Singapore - 2018
  38. Israel Film Festival Los Angeles - 2017
  39. Israel Film Festival Los Angeles - 2018
  40. Israel Film Festival New York - 2018
  41. Israeli Film Festival at the Weinstein JCC - 2019
  42. Jewish Arts and Film Festival of Fairfield County - 2018
  43. Jewish Film Festival (Chautauqua) - 2019
  44. JFilm Festival (Pittsburgh) - 2018
  45. Jüdisches Filmfestival Wien: Servus Israel- 2018
  46. Kansas City Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  47. Karen Schneider Jewish Film Festival of Flint - 2018
  48. Louisville Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  49. Maine Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  50. Miami Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  51. Mobile Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  52. Moscow Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  53. Nagle Family Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  54. Nashville Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  55. New York Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  56. Northern New Jersey Israel Film Festival - 2018
  57. Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  58. PJFF Fall Festival - 2017
  59. Randi & Bruce Pergament Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  60. Ring Family Wesleyan University Israel Film Festival - 2018
  61. Rutgers Jewish Film Festival - 2017
  62. Sarasota-Manatee Israel Film Festival - 2019
  63. Schenectady Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  64. Seattle Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  65. SERET the London Israeli Film & TV Festival - 2018
  66. Seret: The Amsterdam Israeli Film and Television Festival - 2018
  67. Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  68. Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  69. The National Center For Jewish Film's 21st Annual Film Festival - 2018
  70. Triad Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  71. UK Jewish Film Festival - 2017
  72. Vancouver Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  73. Victoria International Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  74. Washington Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  75. Westchester Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  76. Wilmington Jewish Film Festival Summer Series - 2019

27 Responses

  1. jewishfilmfests says:

    ‘Cakemaker’ takes top prize at Jewish film festival in Germany

  2. jewishfilmfests says:

    Sad and sweet, and with a rare lyricism, “The Cakemaker” believes in a love that neither nationality, sexual orientation nor religious belief can deter. Some may find its reticence off-putting or even irritating, but at heart it’s just a tender love triangle with a ghost in the middle. And a mouthwatering abundance of crème fraîche.

  3. jewishfilmfests says:

    That story is finally both convincing and quietly moving, a tale of emotional journeys and trials and the challenge of starting anew after tragedy. The brilliance of its telling marks a very auspicious debut by the talented Graizer.

  4. jewishfilmfests says:

    Cinematographer Omri Aloni shoots some of the baking scenes in a dreamy twilit haze practically akin to the pottery scene in “Ghost”: Most of us, it’s fair to say, have never looked quite so sexy or serene while working with yeast. Yet such romanticization aptly reflects Thomas’s own state of reverie in the kitchen — the one space, after all, where he feels confidently, capably himself — in contrast to the film’s muted, silver-shadowed naturalism elsewhere.

  5. jewishfilmfests says:

    Once “The Cakemaker’s” plot kicks in, it’s inevitable that we wonder how long Thomas can keep the past a secret, and what will happen should the the truth come out. The most fascinating kind of tension results, an unusual state of affairs that plays fair with the characters, and with us.

  6. jewishfilmfests says:

    The film seems slight, and in many ways it is. This much passivity can only take a narrative so far. But Graizer knows how to hint at a deeper pain: The many, many scenes of silence and isolation hang in the air like unbaked clouds of flour. As the siren rings throughout Jerusalem calling all the Jewish families to Sabbath dinner, our German friend whose cooking can break your heart sits alone in his spotless apartment, dipping into takeout hummus.

  7. jewishfilmfests says:

    Kalkhof’s subtle performance lays the groundwork for The Cakemaker’s affecting climax—a final discharge of suppressed emotions that’s hardly surprising but very much earned. Despite some obvious moments, Graizer’s film is a complex mix: Binding its narrative to fascinating explorations of national identity, sexuality, and, of course, food, it avoids being limited by its use of allegory and melodrama. Instead, it deploys elements of each to craft a poignant film about mourning and forgiveness.

  8. jewishfilmfests says:

    The same formal composure characterises The Cakemaker’s performances and visuals, and the same quiet revelation as well. Offering controlled but vivid portrayals, Kalkhof and Adler ensure their two sides of the same grieving, anguished coin remain as different as they do similar, all the more so as their characters slowly step closer together. Behind the lens, first-time feature cinematographer Omri Aloni frames with cool poise — other than when sensual food shots are involved — while fellow newcomer Michal Oppenheim proves just as precise with the film’s measured editing.

  9. jewishfilmfests says:

    Graizer takes his time and never feels the need to spell everything out, and “The Cakemaker” is a testament to what filmmakers can achieve when they trust the audience.

  10. jewishfilmfests says:

    Graizer too often seems afraid to potentially offend anyone (but especially straight audiences along for the ride) and too polite to explore the darker recesses of grief, desire and sexuality. One doesn’t even need the more explicit approach of someone like Joao Pedro Rodrigues, whose Odete touches on many similar themes; a tonally hushed film like Lilting, which also looked at secrets, gay desire, being stuck between cultures and how the memory of a loved one can inform actions in the present day, felt much more emotionally transparent and honest and thus affecting. But after The Cakemaker’s over, audiences will shrug, instantly forget the wishy-washy characters and not even run to the nearest patisserie.

  11. jewishfilmfests says:

    The Cakemaker is more of a petit four than a belly bomb, but it’s striking in its particularity. Though the film is shot in Jerusalem, it contains nothing of the Old City or anything else from a Fodor’s Travel guide. Israel’s religious codes are just a fact of life for secular Jews, like traffic is for those in Los Angeles or stalled subways are for those in New York. As the story cooks, we wait for Thomas to get burned, but don’t judge him too harshly. Though in a rough situation, these are fundamentally good people; the film’s aftertaste is sweet.

  12. jewishfilmfests says:

    It’s a hefty portion to swallow in this movie, but it’s well-worth the time to dig in.

  13. jewishfilmfests says:

    The Cakemaker is a touching, quietly assured and beautifully handled drama about grief, religion and traditional values in modern societies. Both Kalkhof and Adler are superb, and it’s the relationship between them which makes the film so special. Graizer ensures that there’s no eureka moment, allowing their bond to slowly grow in the most unfertile ground. The Cakemaker is a thoughtful and moving film about two people dealing with shared grief.

  14. jewishfilmfests says:

    Slowly and calmly told, The Cakemaker is a charming and touching story of decent people and their loneliness, shared grief and love for the same man – though Tomas’s is a painful, strangled grief that can’t be revealed in that religious Jewish society. The contrast in colour and vibrancy between Berlin and Jerusalem suggests the awakening that the chaos and closeness of Israeli life could have on him. The film is a little beautifully iced gem.

  15. jewishfilmfests says:

    The cast is exceptional. Thirty-year-old German actor Tim Kalkhof makes an impressive debut as the gay pastry chef whose life takes an unexpected turn.

  16. jewishfilmfests says:

    Director Ofir Raul Grazier also manages to illustrate the culture clash between Thomas and his new environment through food porn (yes, really). Your mouth will water as you see the delicacies he serves up in the kitchen, even though very little of what he makes is suitable for sale in an Israeli cafe, due to not having kosher status. In a movie so concerned with the emotions of its characters, the little details about working in an unfamiliar culture help ensure the movie feels tangible outside the central storyline.

  17. jewishfilmfests says:

    The movie is good at (very) slowly turning up the heat, but a lot of it comes out half-baked. Even aside from logical questions left unanswered, it doesn’t really explore issues raised by the notion of an imposter taking someone’s place, or of the connections between religious strictures and those placed on sexual identity. Perhaps this is because Thomas’s character, who never explores Jerusalem outside of this one Jewish enclave, is passive to the point of being almost absent himself—an effect heightened by Kalkhof and Adler both sounding more stilted in English, the characters’ only language in common. The Cakemaker is very tasteful indeed, but does it satisfy?

  18. jewishfilmfests says:

    Rather than become an over-the-top melodrama, The Cakemaker asks profound questions about the complexity of human nature, empathy, and our value beyond archaic doctrines that serve to separate more than unite. It offers two unforgettably complex leads struggling to find their worth in the wake of devastating news that inexplicably find themselves able to help steady the other despite their unknown roles in shattering the other’s foundation in the first place. Graizer can therefore authentically touch upon the myriad taboos projecting adversity upon them because they’re more or less the same beneath it all. The performances Kalkhof and Adler draw within that truth prove equally inspirational as devastating. And as so much external noise tries dividing them, it’s food’s great unifier that silences their minds to amplify their souls.

  19. jewishfilmfests says:

    This is an impressive debut for Gralzer and there are few wrong steps taken here. The late-film flashback that explains some of what happened between Thomas and Oren probably should have occurred sooner in the film and the ending was a bit muddled but beyond that this is the kind of rainy day movie that will whet your appetite in more ways than one.

  20. jewishfilmfests says:

    Thematically, while it seems that the issues of religiousness, Jewishness, homosexuality and the position of a German in Israel are delicate topics that the film deals with, what is really subversive about it is its refusal to conform to the norms of sexuality: no one here seems to be clearly homo- or heterosexual, and the protagonists of this movie are looking for love and care, for tenderness and closeness, regardless of their sexual roles. The refusal to reduce one’s identity to any of the traditional divisions represents the beating heart of The Cakemaker.

  21. jewishfilmfests says:

    Both the gay character and the straight wife are admirable human beings – strong, independent, thoughtful, wise and kind of adorable, at least as played by Kalkhof and Adler. These characters are brave role models for the rest of us. That makes the film sound dull and lecturing. It is exactly the opposite of that. It’s totally involving, quietly glorious, telling the truth for once, in fact a whole series of truths.

  22. jewishfilmfests says:

    What is lacking is a sense of real passion in the initial period of the relationship between Thomas and Oren and, in places, a strong narrative drive. Yet the film, its cast and its themes more than survive its deficiencies.

  23. jewishfilmfests says:

    You may know where The Cakemaker is going, but getting there is a sweet and satisfying trip.

  24. jewishfilmfests says:

    The Cakemaker is one of those beautiful absorbing movies that slips under your skin and stays there for some time.

  25. jewishfilmfests says:

    “The Cakemaker”, which was recently shown in Jeonju International Film Festival, requires some patience due to its slow narrative pacing, and some of you may complain about its rather unresolved ending, but it is rewarding experience on the whole thanks to its competent direction and good performances.

  26. jewishfilmfests says:

    This is a thoroughly hamish (home-like) look at the conflicts faced by a Berliner whose lover had just died, and also the opposition he faces from a member of the Jewish family who at first rejects the idea of a Gentile’s working with Anat, then warms up to him, and ultimately changes his mind once again.

  27. jewishfilmfests says:

    Rife with genuine pathos and boasting a coda as mysterious and suggestive as it is heartwarming and hopeful, The Cakemaker is a film that lingers on the palate long after the final radiant shot of a transformed Anat looking at her future with freshly-nourished perspective.

For information about this film, including how to get a copy of it, please click the DVD, Instant Video, IMDB or website link above.
(This site is not affiliated with the film.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *