Bagdad Cafe (1987) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A lonely German woman ends up in the most desolate motel on Earth and decides to make it brighter.

  • Out of Rosenheim (Bagdad Café) is a look into the lives (and minds) of some people we all have encountered, but few of us ever get to know. This film (a 'fish out odd water'-type tale) shows how one person can affect a disparate community. The Adlons express the view that change and "magic" comes from hard work and mutual understanding/acceptance. A well-crafted view of the lives of people everywhere and the difficulties we all can face. A whimsical story, lovingly shot by people who - unfamiliar with what others too often ignore give this arid area - the bleak, and arrid South West, an almost fairytale-like beauty.

  • Jasmin has a row with her husband in the middle of the desert, and storms off to a truck-stop cafe. She stays there, and starts to make friends with the regulars, including Rudi, an ex-set decorator from Hollywood who wants to paint her picture.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • German tourist Jasmin Münchgstettner (Marianne Sägebrecht) has a big fight with her husband (Hans Stadlbauer) and stomps off in the middle of a desert highway. Similarly, short-tempered Brenda (CCH Pounder), owner of the dilapidated Bagdad Cafe, has a fight with her husband, who also drives off.

    Jasmin arrives at the Bagdad Cafe, suitcase in tow, and asks for a room at the adjacent motel, both of which are located in the middle of nowhere in the California desert. Jasmin stays a while, befriending Brenda's children and Rudi Cox (Jack Palance), a washed-out set designer from Tinsel-Town (Hollywood) and cafe regular.

    Jasmin, whose typical German fastidiousness can't tolerate disorder and dirt, starts cleaning and organizing her motel room and the café; while smooth-talking Rudi wants to paint Jasmin's portrait in a series of portraits, each more risqué than the last.

    Also a skilled magician, Jasmin begins entertaining the infrequent customers. Word of this gem in the desert spreads throughout the trucker community, and soon the café is packed, drawing the attention of the local Sheriff, Arnie (Apesanahkwat). Having no green card, Jasmin must leave, having over-stayed her tourist visa, but Rudi has a solution: Jasmin can stay if she marries him. She accepts his proposal and the show goes on with her magic tricks and the musical talents of Brenda and her children.

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