Kitchen Stories

Rated 4.0 In post-World War II Norway, a Swedish home-economics institute runs a kitchen-efficiency study by placing “observers” in the kitchens of bachelors to study their movement patterns. The observers are forbidden to fraternize with their “hosts,” but one (Tomas Norström) strikes up a hesitant friendship with an aging farmer (Joachim Calmeyer). Boy, just when you think all the original stories have been told, something like this comes along—a wry comedy-drama that’s spare and low-key, hilariously deadpan in the early scenes and then increasingly poignant and affecting as it goes along. Norström and Calmeyer have an extraordinary screen rapport (they speak hardly a word for the first 45 minutes), and the cinematography of Philip Øgaard matches the sedate economy of Jörgen Bergmark and director Bent Hamer’s script.