Kitchen Stories

A delightful comedy from Scandinavia

Posted February 2, 2006

A quaint story about the friendship between two aging men, "Kitchen Stories" is packaged as a comedy with a very strange premise. It is based on research conducted in Sweden in the 1950s when women were observed in the kitchen for a study to determine the best housework techniques. In our film, a fictional plotline concerns a team of Swedish scientists - all men - hired to observe bachelors living alone in Norway. Their methods are absurd. The observers live in funny little trailers outside their subjects' houses. They sit in high, intimidating chairs (reminiscent of a tennis umpire's chair) placed in the corner of their subjects' kitchens where they take notes on a clipboard. Finally, there is a strict rule that the observer and the subject must not speak to each other or make contact of any kind. This last rule is impossible to follow, and in the case of observer Folke (Tomas Norstrom) and subject Isak (Joachim Calmeyer) it is ignored. The two aging men become fast friends, passing wintry afternoons in the rural countryside sipping coffee, smoking pipes, and telling each other fantastic stories. Writer-director Bent Hamer has created a sweet and pleasing comedy with "Kitchen Stories," using excellent photography, interesting colors, and great performances to make a success of an uncomplicated plot.

The film is not rated, runs for 91 minutes, and is in Swedish/Norwegian with English subtitles.

"Kitchen Stories," Saturday, Feb. 4, 7:30 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring St., Vineyard Haven. Tickets $6 or $4 for members. Doors open at 7 pm.