Cakemaker, The: Israeli Director Ofir Raul Graizer’s Tale of Closeted German Chef (LGBTQ)

The John Schlesinger Awards for first-time directors of narrative features at the 2018 Provincetown Film Fest went to Israeli writer-director Ofir Raul Graizer’s The Cakemaker.

The movie received the 2018 Ophir Award (Israel’s Oscars) for best picture, and was selected as Israel’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Unfolding as a romantic triangle, the tale introduces Thomas, a young German baker who’s having an affair with Oren, a married Israeli who visits Berlin frequently on business.

When Oren fails to return Thomas’s calls, he discovers that oren had died in an accident in Israel, and he goes to Jerusalem and visits the cafe of Oren’s widow, Anat.

Without revealing his identity, he gets a job in the kitchen and rents an apartment in the city. At first, he is not allowed to make food, as it risks the loss of its kosher certification, but later on, Anat tries some baked goods that Thomas made for her son’s birthday and allows him to cook.

Thomas learns more about Anat’s life and family, including her brother-in-law, Motti, who is suspicious of him. He also grows closer to Anat, who is still grieving her husband’s death despite awareness of his infidelity.

Anat is tempted to look through Oren’s personals, which include notes from his lover and a second phone. Eventually, while preparing a large volume of baked goods for a catering order, Anat makes an advance on Thomas, who hesitantly reciprocates; the two have a short affair, which begins to lift Anat’s spirits.

The affair makes Thomas ruminate on his time with Oren, including one of their final trysts, where Oren dismissed the idea of revealing the affair to his wife.

Anat finds a shopping list in German among Oren’s objects, including the name of the Berlin cafe where Thomas works. Anat tells Thomas that Oren told her he was having an affair, and planned on leaving her and their son to start a new life in Berlin. Anat forced Oren to leave the house, and he died in a car accident on his way to an hotel.  Both Anat and Thomas are overwhelmed with guilt and grief.

Later, Anat discovers that her kosher certification has been revoked, making all the catered goods worthless.  After rebooting Oren’s second phone, she discovers more voicemail messages from Thomas, and realizes that he was her husband’s lover. Motti forces Thomas to leave Jerusalem, asking him never to come back.

Months later, Anat’s cafe is successful, despite lacking a kosher certification. Anat travels to Berlin, where she spots Thomas coming out of his cafe.  Watching him depart, she looks up at the sky and smiles.

Tim Kalkhof [de] as Thomas
Sarah Adler as Anat
Zohar Strauss as Motti
Roy Miller [he] as Oren
Tamir Ben-Yehuda as Itai