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Kitchen Stories (2003)

Tomas Norström , Joachim Calmeyer , Bent Hamer  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

Price: $35.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tomas Norström, Joachim Calmeyer, Bjørn Floberg, Reine Brynolfsson, Sverre Anker Ousdal
  • Directors: Bent Hamer
  • Writers: Bent Hamer, Jörgen Bergmark
  • Producers: Bent Hamer, Arve Figenschow, Jörgen Bergmark
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Norwegian, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065GVIY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,225 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kitchen Stories" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Original Trailer

Editorial Reviews

A Swedish researcher strikes up an unlikely friendship with a cranky Norwegian farmer in this "quirky, thoughtful and bittersweet" (Boxoffice) comedy that captured audiences hearts around theworld. Both "warm" (Newsday) and witty, Kitchen Stories is "a deadpan, thoroughly delightful comedy that cooks up tasty laughs" (New York Post)! It's the 1950s, and a Swedish efficiency expert under strict orders not to interact with his subject is sent to improve a Norwegian farmer's culinary efforts. But the sly old farmer much prefers to amuse himself by impeding the timid researcher's work! Soon, in the struggle between neutral observation and the need for human interaction, the kitchen becomes a battleground!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Le til du skrike! (Laugh till you scream!) November 28, 2004
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooh my, this film had me in knots!

Having lived in Norway at one time in my life, I had a strong desire to see this when it turned up at last year's Cork (Ireland) International Film Festival. I try not to miss Scandinavian films when they're on, anyway, but the blurb sounded good, and so I went.

Scandinavian humour is known for being quite black, actually, and is sometimes hard to swallow. There are those who find British humour incomprehensible; they would find Scandinavian humour insurmountable. That is, until they see this film... (You know things will be good when you're laughing hysterically within the first five or ten minutes.)

The story begins with a group of Swedish researchers, who are sent to the cold and frozen wilderness of Norway to observe the daily habits of middle-aged Norwegian bachelors. The premise for this visit is that the researchers are attempting to redesign kitchens for the usage of such characters; the observations will facilitate a more user-friendly remodelling. It isn't too long after the introduction of the 'suits' that the viewer will be rolling on the floor in laughter. This comes about firstly by the inclusion of a bit of rather humorous history: once upon a not-so-long ago, the Swedes drove on the left, and the Norwegians (as they always had done) drove on the right. Consequently, the team of Swedish researchers, fresh from their border crossing into Norway, must suddenly avoid a near head-on collision, which leaves them discombobulated. Viewers familiar with the way the Swedish and the Norwegians are constantly jibing one another will immediately recognise the joke played on a certain group of meatball-lovers!

It only gets better.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sharp satire February 14, 2005
We humans are, by nature, a thoroughly inquisitive lot. We can't help but want to know what it is that makes everything - including the people around us - "tick." But can that curiosity, which has done so much to enlighten and advance us as a species, also wind up draining all the spontaneity and fun out of life? If everything is catalogued and labeled and put into little boxes, what happens to that sense of mystery that makes life worth living? The Swedish film "Kitchen Stories" is an ingenious little satire about mankind's insatiable propensity to study and analyze every damn thing in life and to subject even our most mundane daily activities to the rigors of scientific enquiry.

It`s the 1950`s and a group of Swedish researchers have descended on Norway to study "the kitchen habits of the single male," a truly pressing concern if ever there was one. The project involves setting up an "observer" in a volunteer's kitchen in order to watch and record the subject`s every move, leading, hopefully, to kitchen designs that will prove more fruitful and productive for the average citizen. The proviso is that there is to be no fraternizing whatsoever between the two parties, otherwise the "objective" nature of the experiment will be ruined. This is truly life as lived under a microscope, and the question early on becomes who will be the first to "crack" under the pressure of this totally unnatural state of affairs, the observer or the observed. And just how meaningful and reliable could information gleaned from such a contrived, unnatural setup be anyway? Given the complexity of human nature, how much can such a study truly tell us about ourselves and what we're really like?
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Observing Batchelor Farmers February 3, 2005
For years now, humorist Garrison Keillor has successfully mined the image of the "Norwegian bachelor farmers" who populate the fringes of his fictional Lake Wobegon. Although few of his fans outside the precincts of Minnesota have probably ever actually met a Norwegian bachelor farmer, the vague image is nonetheless strong enough to carry Keillor's jokes and jabs. In "Kitchen Stories," a 2003 film by Bent Hamer, the rest of us finally have the chance to meet such a character, and it is an opportunity not to be missed.

Isak is the farmer in question, a cagey old man who mistakenly volunteers for a 1950s Swedish study of home efficiency. Having already "improved" the domestic efficiency of Scandinavian housewives, the nutty professors of the Swedish Home Research Institute set out to bestow a similar blessing on Norwegian bachelors. Isak is thus assigned to be observed by one Folke, himself a bachelor and a strict pupil of the official methods of the Institute's director.

While an early clash of wills between the observer and the observee set the stage for the film (and offer the early comedic bits and the film's few real laughs) what follows is the real story, a tale of human need that reaches out past conventions, artifice and rules of engagement. Isak slowly overcomes his resentment and obstructionist bent, while Folke's pointless fastidiousness simultaneously unravels. The result is what The Odd Couple might have been had Neil Simon decided to forego the slapstick.

Four subplots underpin the story without distracting from it. Isak's horse, a metaphor for the old man himself, is dying. Grant, Isak's heretofore best friend, is, literally, left out in the cold.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
For the person who doesn't mind slow moving, this is a wunderful story about the core of humans.
Published 1 month ago by Laura H. Love
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This was hilarious!! I want to see more Scandinavian movies!!
Published 1 month ago by Chuck Manatee
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't know what it is about this movie...
I first saw this movie around 9 years ago when I rented it on a whim. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but I enjoy foreign films and immediately fell in love with this one. Read more
Published 3 months ago by JL
5.0 out of 5 stars Scandinavian Gem
If you like deliberate pacing, dead-pan performances, quirky period films or snowy northern landscapes, you'll enjoy Kitchen Stories. Read more
Published 5 months ago by C. Rothlind
5.0 out of 5 stars great. movie!
Although I didn't understand all of the cultural references, this movie was heartwarming and funny. Definitely would recommend to family and friends
Published 5 months ago by Karis Cha
5.0 out of 5 stars Kitchen Stories
A duel of wits between a Norwegian farmer and the Swedish researcher sent to observe him as part of a kitchen efficiency study. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Therese Malmberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky
It's been a while since I saw this so the details escape me but I remember really liking it. But we like quirky movies.
Published 9 months ago by Swisslegend
5.0 out of 5 stars great film
I use this film in my research methods class and absolutely love it. Great for discussions about ethics, participatory observation vs objective observation, real world... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bambi L Yost
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not a spectacular film but...
The movie made me think about the meaning of research, especially quantitative research. I recommend this film to my students who take a qualitative research method course.
Published 14 months ago by Wonsoon Park
5.0 out of 5 stars Swedes & Norwegians
I have seen it several times. One of a kind. Ever so natural and entertaining. Look at all the background detail connected to European life. Like Volvo cars? Take a look.
Published 16 months ago by Maurice L. Wymore
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