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Kitchen Stories (2003)
"Salmer fra kjøkkenet" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,332 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 41 user | 77 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A scientific observer's job of observing an old cantakerous single man's kitchen habits is complicated by his growing friendship with him.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joachim Calmeyer ...
Isak Bjørvik
Tomas Norström ...
Folke Nilsson
Bjørn Floberg ...
Grant
Reine Brynolfsson ...
Malmberg
Sverre Anker Ousdal ...
Dr. Jack Zac. Benjaminsen
...
Dr. Ljungberg
Gard B. Eidsvold ...
Bakkerman (as Gard Eidsvold)
Lennart Jähkel ...
Green
Trond Brænne ...
Ordforer
Bjørn Jenseg ...
Vaktmester
...
Vaktmesterassistent
Karin Lunden ...
Svensk selskapsdame
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Päivi Laakso ...
Finsk selskapsdame
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Storyline

In post war Sweden it was discovered that every year, an average housewife walks the equivalent number of miles as the distance between Stockholm and Congo, while preparing her family meals. So the Home Research Institute sent out eighteen observers to a rural district of Norway to map out the kitchen routines of single men. The researchers were on twenty-four-hour call, and sat in special strategically placed chairs in each kitchen. Furthermore, under no circumstances were the researchers to be spoken to, or included in the kitchen activities. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 January 2003 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Psalms from the Kitchen  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$48,103 (USA) (20 February 2004)

Gross:

$349,315 (USA) (4 June 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the beginning of the film, Malmberg (a Swede) becomes ill after having to drive on the right side of the road in Norway. Today both countries drive on the right. In 1967, Sweden switched to the right because making two versions of cars like Volvos and Saabs for domestic and foreign sales was inefficient. Also, there are many unguarded, unmarked border crossings points (unlike the crossing in the film); people would not realize which country they were in and sometimes ended up driving on the wrong side. See more »


Soundtracks

Flickorna i Småland
Performed by Delta Rhythm Boys
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User Reviews

 
Celebrates life and friendship
21 March 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

As a result of a study in the 1950s in which efficiency experts at the Home Research Institute observed the kitchen habits of Swedish housewives to come up with a better workspace design, eighteen men are transported in caravans to farms in Norway to observe the cooking habits of Norwegian single men. Kitchen Stories, a quirky comedy co-written by Swedish director Bent Hamer and Norway's Jörgen Bergmark, depicts the relationship between two elderly single men, a relationship in which the observer ends up being the observed. The film is similar, in its deadpan humor and offbeat characters, to the work of Aki Kaurismäki, but without the Finnish director's overbearing self-consciousness.

The scientists wear white lab coats and carry clipboards, seemingly poised for an ET-like invasion. The observers, however, must live outside the homes of their subjects in small trailers and are not allowed to talk, drink, or otherwise interact with their subjects. Some, however, are not willing subjects. One of the scientists, Folke, a Swede (Tomas Norström), draws Isak (Joachim Calmeyer), an antisocial Norwegian farmer used to living in solitude. Isak at first refuses to let Folke into his house, resentful that the horse he was promised in return for his participation turned out to be a figurine. Folke, however, eventually gains access to the kitchen and sits every day perched in his high observation chair, recording Isak's every movement like the Lord High Executioner until Isak decides to take his hot plate up to his bedroom to frustrate his unwelcome guest.

The sly Isak drills a hole through the upstairs bedroom floor and now secretly watches Folke in the kitchen. When they start conversing, each man insists on speaking his own language (not shown by the subtitles) as if to doggedly maintain their separate identities. Gradually they become friends, breaking through the barriers in their life that have imposed a limiting solitude. They begin first by drinking coffee in the morning, sharing a bit of their background, and then celebrating Isak's birthday with cake and bourbon whiskey. Their interaction, of course, is against the rules of the study, and there are consequences for Folke. His life, however, acquires new meaning the more willing he is to take risks and share himself openly. Kitchen Stories is a small film, but one that is warmhearted and thoroughly enjoyable, a work that celebrates the small pleasures in just being alive without trying to be profound or seduce us with blatant emotional appeals.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Question for Norwegian or Swedish speakers Jonathan Dore
Ambiguous Ending? x-moose2
What make is the brown car in the movie? jeanne-47
/theme of movie/how many men left at the end? bobmorris
Soundtrack available? Liendale
A moving and political film Rupert_B
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