German director Sandra Nettelbeck whips up a tasty entry in the burgeoning “love and food” romance genre with “Mostly Martha,” the tragicomic tale of an uptight professional chef who finds her world turned upside down when she becomes the caretaker for her newly orphaned niece premiering in Geneva at the Smith Opera House Jan. 23.
A master chef in a classy restaurant, Martha Klein (Martina Gedeck) is so obsessed with the job that her boss insists she see a therapist. The sessions involve long, detailed descriptions of mouth-watering meals that the client has crafted. Martha can't be coaxed into talking about her personal life largely because she has none, until a tragedy immerses her in human emotions beyond the passion for perfection.
When her sister is killed in an accident, Martha must take care of the young niece she barely knows. Lina (Maxime Foerste) is a bright but sorrowful eight-year-old who finds refuge from grief by refusing to eat–complete anathema to her aunt's belief system. At work, these developments coincide with the hiring of an Italian sous-chef named Mario (Sergio Castellitto), a gentle, gregarious soul who manages to charm Lina. Horrified that Mario could be a threat to her exalted place in the kitchen, paranoid Martha treats the poor man with contempt. Sparks fly, personalities clash, and simmering, repressed emotions come bubbling to the frothy surface.
Rated PG for thematic material and mild language and in German with subtitles, “Mostly Martha” will be screened January 23, 24 and 26. Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. It has a running time of 1 hour, 46 minutes. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. All seats on Thursday are $3.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. Call 315-781-LIVE or toll-free 1-866-355 LIVE for additional information. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.
# # #