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
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 »
How do you make a film no SELL the idea of a film, whose premise is the following? Take 1950 era Swedish scientists, whose goal is to find men who live alone in the wilderness and study their kitchen habits' at home for the purpose of building a more efficient living space for people. I am sure if any writer walking into Hollywood with that script would be instantly flogged before he even set foot in a studio executive boardroom. A story like this obviously seems to set itself up as a comedy, since the story is so obviously absurd, but what viewers come out with after witnessing this film is the great appreciation and the bonds the characters create. This is a truly touching masterful picture, from a premise that has the most bizarre source that I don't know how anyone could have even come up with. That premise is quite something, since it seems that the idea of studying male behavior in a kitchen in the backwoods of Norway is either going to be a complete disaster or something extremely memorable. Luckily it is the latter of the two. Isak Bjornsson is a scientist out to study a subject' named Folke who lives by himself and has literally no friends. Folke unwittingly is part of this experiment which involves Isak sitting in a giant chair overlooking his living space, as if he was the judge in a tennis match. Also Isak is supposed to follow certain rules set out by his employer. He is not to disturb Folke's living space, nor talk to him. If this isn't a unique bit of Scandinavian humor I don't know what is. If this film were to fall flat or even be just a short funny comedy, it would only fixate on the stupidity of this premise. Somehow a guy who sits in a log cabin miles away from civilization, who can put up with a stuffy repressed scientist whose main purpose is to write excruciating details of a man who literally spends his day doing nothing, is actually quite a funny situation for comedy. Kitchen Stories does not fail in that sense, but the ingeniousness is that Kitchen Stories is smarter than that.
The film suddenly takes the viewer to ask what the real purpose of these 2 men in the movie are and the focus provides and glaring and obvious point. They are essentially both alone in their lives for different reasons and they in a way need each other. But not of course in the sense of a dying love, but in a great sense of male camaraderie and caring that is essential to the idea of a great friendship
Gradually, the bond between scientist and subject breaks down, and both men start evolving a strange set of rules and create a friendship that comes off as the most genuine and heartwarming I've seen on screen since this year started.
As this relationship and some good subplots develop, the comedy takes another turn as Isak tries to hide from his boss ( a man who only dreams' of what the future possibilities of kitchens may look like), that he has engaged his subject in what is obviously, caring' humanity. The nerve!
I loved this film from the moment it started till its tender conclusion. It had only a short run in my area, and even after what must have been several months since I've seen it, I still think about it and a giant smile comes across my face.
It is touching, heartwarming, very funny, and just flat out great. It is the best film I have seen so far this year. If you ever get a chance to see it, go immediately. It shows the perfect beauty of the bond between us all as people, in the most kooky, unique bizarre way. And that in itself is pure genius
Rating 10 out of 10
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