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

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,599 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 41 user | 76 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A scientific observer's job of observing an old cantankerous 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

Throughout the film, Isak speaks Norwegian and Folke speaks Swedish; this is true even when they are having conversations with each other. See more »


Soundtracks

Visa Från Utanmyra
Performed by Jan Johansson
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User Reviews

The credibility of documentaries and scientists is on the table here.
5 May 2004 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

Having just seen Kaurismaki's dryly-witty `Man Without a Past,' I couldn't believe that director Bent Hamer's `Kitchen Stories' is actually drier and funnier. The Norse/Swedish co-production depicts 1950's Swedes studying bachelors in their kitchens to improve their lives. Swedish scientist Folke, in a high chair like some infantile god, observes Norwegian Isak under the restriction that he must not interact with Isak.

The humor comes from the stereotypical Swede as uptight and organized and the Norwegian as slow but solid. The silliness of the experiment itself is obvious and the restriction ludicrous because of course they will interact, in fact bond, given the loneliness of Norway's winter and the need for humans to be sociable. That the story turns on male bonding is a bonus, especially because neither country is considered a bastion of sociability. When Isak lets Folke listen to the radio on his teeth fillings, I figure the guys are in for some warm nights.

In another way, this film could be as good as it gets for analyzing the effect observers have on their subjects, be it laboratory or media. A question probably unanswerable even today is how much anyone changes under observation. In the case of the central characters in `Kitchen Stories,' the change is considerable, but more so just because of another human being's presence in an otherwise lonely world. The credibility of documentaries and scientists is on the table here.

The minimal dialogue and occasional joke, spiced with subtle racial stereotyping, makes me think of not only Kaurismaki but also Beckett, whose waiting characters sometime talk nonsense, but most of the time profundity under the guise of simplicity. `Kitchen' is a slow but rewarding film that strips life of its pretensions to study more closely the tissue that binds humanity with communication.

Diplomat Dag Hammarskjold in his Markings caught the minimalism of this film: `Friendship needs no words-it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.'


17 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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