Imagine Sweden, somewhere in the Fifties, where an Institute just recently researched how the typical housewife works and behaves in the kitchen. By building an experiment lab, containing your usual kitchen machines and putting strange clothes on the test subjects.
After finishing this experiment the scientists decide to go one step further, to Norway to find out more about the behaviour of single men in the kitchen. To accomplish this they ask men, who live by themselves if they want to participate ans send observers who will sit in their kitchen and monitor each and every step they take.
During the movie we see the story of two men, one being the observer and the other being – more or less – the test subject.
So far the story of this movie, which premiered in 2003 in cinema nationwide and also international ones due to his success. To fair I haven’t heard about it before, I got it recommended recently and being curious about social experiments I had to watch it as soon as possible.
This is not only a movie about a strange sounding experiment – I couldn’t stop grinning when I first saw the last steps of the experiment where scientists watched the behaviour of housewives in the kitchen and later when the observer comes to the house of one of the single men and mounts the seat that was specially prepared for him within the kitchen. Imagine this seat, standing in one of the corners of the kitchen, looking quite similar to those of the referees at a tennis field.
Apart from all this and many more strange things that keep happening within this movie it is also a movie about friendship.
It shows the story of Isak, who starts observing in the kitchen of Folke. Isak is clearly not welcome here, the only things Folke is doing in the kitchen are smoking a pipe, reading or just sitting and talking to a friend. He starts cooking his meals in the room above the kitchen and even starts to observe the observer through a hole in the ceiling. Which is one of the strange parts in this experiment when you think about it. The first few weeks are filled with ignorance and Isak even asks for replacement because there is nothing to gain there. But things change between the two and a friendships arises between these completely different characters. Something that is not allowed, things like that can change the outcome of the experiment.
The story is told very slow, but filled with a lot of scenes where you think about how experiments where done in earlier times. This one tells us about social experiments, friendships and also has a revolutionary touch, due to the fact that this friendship is not allowed.
How the mood of the movie changes during the story is also one of its strengths, it starts as a satire and believe me when I tell you that Terry Gilliam would be happy to continue with that all along. Later on when we see the experiment, the monitoring in a live situation the mood changes and we are switching from cold satire to a comedian drama filled with warmth.
Overall, it’s a movie that can be seen anytime, a timeless little gem that moves you.