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Customer Review

Bagdad Cafe is an odd film, and I mean that as a compliment. The characters are all greatly flawed individuals who, as the film starts, are largely unhappy. CCH Pounder plays Brenda who owns the cafe. This woman could scare the hide off a cat with that shrill voice that drives her husband off to park in the desert and observe her with binoculars for the rest of the film. Jasmin, the Bavarian German who likes her coffee strong, is fat and seems to change clothes regularly despite having a suitcase supposedly filled only with men's clothes. She is not the typical Hollywood star, but she comes to win our hearts. Jack Palance as Rudy Cox, the set painter from Hollywood, lives in a trailer and sees the world through rose colored glasses. His costumes are pure Santa Monica Boulevard chic. He charms us as he falls in love. The sequence of paintings he does as Jasmin gets progressively less dressed is hysterical. The other characters are also unique. Brenda's son who also has a son, a baby, wants nothing more than to play piano all day. The daughter dresses in trendy teenage garb and seems to repeatedly run off with anything with two legs and pants. Debbie, the tatoo artist, seems like an S&M freak, and eventually leaves because "there is too much harmony."
The thing I love about this film is that most all of the characters change. Jasmin's unfolding is glorious. The themes in the movie of racial misunderstanding and harmony are also interesting. Jasmin has never seen blacks and pictures herself in tribal Africa being roasted for dinner. She's amazed at how light the palms of Brenda's daughter's hand is, a simple detail but beautiful in its innocent sense of wonder. The DVD version doesn't add a tremendous amount of extras such as bonus material, but the movie itself is the reward. If you like upbeat films somewhat off the beaten track, seek out this cinematic gem.
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Product Details

4.7 out of 5 stars
$17.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime