food in the arts


Dir: Bent Hamer/ Written by: Bent Hamer, Jörgen Bergmark/ With: Bjørn Floberg, Joachim Calmeyer, Tomas Norströ/ Norway, Sweden/ 2003/ 95 mins/ ICA Projects

Did you know that on average a 1950s Swedish housewife walked the equivalent distance from Sweden to Congo each year whilst carrying out her kitchen chores, and that by simply organising herself along assembly line principles she could significantly reduce this amount? This kind of clinical rationalisation, which is gently lampooned in Kitchen Stories, was typical of post-war organisations which looked to science as the solution to everything. Set in 50s Norway, Kitchen Stories sees a fleet of observers from the Swedish Home Research Institute descend on the rural enclave of Landstad to observe the kitchen routines of single men, whose habits apparently yield vital information on how best to calibrate inefficiency in the home. Thus the scene is set for the humorous interplay between one uptight observer and his more rustic subject. Director Hamer is a confident comedian, and his visual humour carries this curious story along. Part satire on social control and part humorous fable about friendship, Kitchen Stories also offers a distinctly absurdist vision of the aesthetics and ideologies of the time. If one colour were to evoke the 50s it would be that kind of optimistic yet strangely clinical green, so prevalent in civic crockery and domestic bathrooms. And of course, this is the hue of the somehow otherworldly egg-shaped caravans which descend on Landstad. 

From the London International Film Festival programme / Sarah Lutton

original lfff site
art and food
literature and food
music and food
photography and food
scandinavian food
Cuisine scandinave
Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975)
general store