Kitchen Stories

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Joachim Calmeyer, Tomas Norström, Bjørn Floberg, Reine Brynolfsson
Director: Bent Hamer

There has always been a noticeable difference between European and American cinema – both use different techniques to tell a story. American cinema tends to go for plot while European cinema is more character based. KITCHEN STORIES is, without a doubt, a strange character based movie that is in some ways similar to a David Lynch movie.

Set in 1950’s Norway, a group of scientists from Sweden head off to Norway to embark on a culinary experiment. The experiment is for the benefit of the Home Research Institute who is attempting to forecast kitchen habits of the future. After doing a study on housewives behaviour, they turn their attention on one of the most difficult demographics, the kitchen habits of the single man.

Each observer is given a small egg shaped camper that is parked outside the subject’s house and a high chair placed in the subject’s kitchen so that his movements are monitored. For the experiment to work, there should be no communication between the subject and the observer. Folke initially finds that his subject Isak (Joachim Calmeyer) is reluctant to participate in the experiment. As time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid any communication between the two men and to do so could jeopardise the experiment.

Even though the pace is slow, there is a certain charm that will keep you hooked to this strange story. Whether it is the tricks that Isak plays to annoy Folke or the interaction between the two characters, either or both will nevertheless draw you into the movie. Just like the stark, snowy landscape, you need to be distracted and usually new friendships are the best way to start.

4 out of 6 stars