I Like Killing Flies

Director: Matt Mahurin

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Shopsin's is the quintessential New York restaurant, inhabited by the equally prototypical New York chef, Kenny, in this character study par excellence. Shot on a shoestring and filled with images and ideas, I Like Killing Flies documents a tiny family-owned and -run Greenwich Village establishment that has become a neighborhood institution. But after 35 years, it has lost its lease and must face a difficult decision.

The Falstaff of his domain, Kenny is a person who can definitely be called a "character." Irascible and intermittently brilliant, he started cooking to earn a few extra bucks and now makes more than nine hundred different items, including hundreds of soups and ethnic comfort food of every variety, from matzoh brie to postmodern pancakes. But his culinary legerdemain is only half of what you get when you enter his domain, and heaven help you if it's with a group of five. A true kitchen philosopher, Kenny's observations about life, politics, food, and sex give this film a vitality that doesn't let up.

Matt Mahurin adopts a haphazard shooting style that captures the unframeable energy of its hero in this film bursting with stove-top sensuality and a family and clientele often hostage to Kenny's moods. I Like Killing Flies is a film about a working-class intellectual in a city in transition. I was desperate to eat at Shopsin's by the end.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details


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