Original, quirky, unexpected, legit-interesting and wickedly funny with a solid story backbone. The antithesis of hack. Brilliantly cast. And it has a KILLER theme song: Jevetta Steele’s “Calling You.” Without falling into stereotype, Bagdad Cafe takes angry black woman Brenda (the incomparable CCH Pounder) on a life-changing journey thanks to the lonely German tourist Jasmin (Marianne Sägebrecht), who sets out to transform her own life when she falls into Brenda’s dusty little cafe.
Also on this ride are Brenda’s introverted musical prodigy son Salamo (real-life tenor Darron Flagg, who played the music in the film); her free-spirited, biker-loving daughter Phyllis (a budding Monica Calhoun); the family’s spiritually expansive, ex-Hollywood set decorator friend (Jack Palance!); and Brenda’s estranged husband, Sal (G. Smokey Campbell) — who narrates from afar.
And all this kookiness works beautifully because Bagdad Cafe is an honest story about the kind of growth we hope for as human beings.
Is it surprising that this is a foreign film?