Kitchen Stories

In the late 1940s, a Swedish research institute hell-bent on collecting the most random data about Scandinavian household behavior sends a squad of researchers into rural Norway to study the kitchen habits of old Norwegian bachelors. The one rule the researchers must follow: never interact with their "hosts", but simply sit in the corner of the room (in ridiculously high chairs), observe silently, and take extensive notes on what they see.

Tomas Norström is Folke, the hapless researcher who is assigned the cantankerous Isak (Joachim Calmeyer), a man of few words who regrets having volunteered for the study and who decides to sabotage it. It's inevitable that the ice will eventually melt between these two oddballs, but Kitchen Stories is more than just a tale of friendship and loneliness. It is also a whimsical riff on Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle (that simply by observing something, you alter its "natural" state) as well as a metaphor for the resentment Norwegians felt about Sweden's "neutral observer" status during World War II, while Norway was occupied by the Germans. The story touches on this painful subject only briefly (if eloquently), but it subtly pervades the entire film.

Kitchen Stories is something your mother would like, which isn't a bad thing. An intimate comedy that provides its fair share of dry chuckles as well as a genuine tenderness, it's certainly worth a look. And I'm not just saying that because I'm half Norskie.