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It took the death of a close friend to prompt German-born director Fatih Akin to make a comedy after establishing himself with deeper, bleaker films about the human condition.

Inspired by Greek food and the city of Hamburg — where Akin, the son of Turkish immigrants, lives — “Soul Kitchen” was written before his Berlinale Golden Bear for “Head-On” in 2004 brought him international recognition.

Overlooked while he made “The Edge of Heaven,” Akin returned to the material — co-written by the film’s lead Adam Bousdoukos — after recalling what a close friend had said before his death: Humor was a central to life as its more difficult issues.

“It was six months after my friend’s death when I both understood that as much as death is part of life, so is humor and I decided to make the film,” Akin said at a Venice presser Thursday.

Flanked by key cast members — including Moritz Bleibtreu, who played Andreas Baader in Uli Edel’s Oscar-nominated “The Baader Meinhof Complex” — Akin added: “As a director I want to experiment. I do not want to repeat myself. I would prefer to fail as a director but going on testing (myself).”

Helped by his wife’s choices for female characters — the film features Hamburg-born actress Pheline Roggan, newcomer Anna Bederke, who’s a former student from Akin’s film school class, and Berlin-based Hungarian thesp Dorka Gryllus (who played a sex worker alongside Marianne Faithful in Sam Garbarski’s “Irina Palm) — Akin designed the film around his cast and city, using several locations that will soon be lost forever to redevelopment.

The result is a fast-paced pic as humor, music and sympathetic characters deliver a feel-good message from a director not renowned for such indulgences.

Match Factory is handling international sales.

Akin was unable to reveal details of the film’s European release dates other than the fact it gets its German exhibition bow on Dec. 25 via Pandora.