February 13, 2004
On the Big Board
||Felt too full of Scandinavia in jokes
Alton Brown is a genius. The man roams the aisles of Kroger's supermarkets in Alpharetta, Georgia, working to teach us bachelor men how to best cook a steak. For obvious reasons, he is my hero.
The kind people at the Home Research Institute in Sweden are apparently unaware of the simple pleasures of an episode of Good Eats on Food Network. These statisticians are somehow under the impression that single men are inefficient in the kitchen. Since they don't have my light and fluffy lemon pound cake available to prove them wrong, they instead decide to frivolously waste taxpayer money on a study of this subject.
What we have then is a comedic slice of life involving two men. One is a bachelor with a sick horse who agrees to be the subject of a research study in exchange for the promise of another horse to replace his dying animal. The other is a professional observer who stubbornly refuses to be cast aside when his subject changes his mind about participation.
When finally admitted into the home, the researcher, Folke, watches while the bachelor, Izak, cooks his meals. The two men begin to engage in a duel of motives. Both fight a losing battle with their loneliness and eventually begin to do that which is verboten: they interact with one another.
When Folke's boss, Grant, reiterates that contact is not allowed by firing another researcher for having a drink with a test subject, the watcher must eventually make a choice. Will he continue to live out his lonely existence or will he choose to move away from his directive and interact with his new friend?
Kitchen Stories is the 2003 Norway entrant for the Academy Award of Best Foreign Language film. Ironically, it did not receive a nomination, because it lost out to Ondskan, a selection from Sweden. The irony involves the fact the rivalry between the two countries is a subplot in the movie. As an fyi for those wishing to see the movie, due to the subject matter of watching without interacting, a significant portion of Kitchen Stories plays out as a silent film. If lack of dialogue concerns you...well, you need to watch Triplets of Belleville and broaden your horizons. (David Mumpower/BOP)