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Kitchen Stories Review

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Post-war Scandinavia, and a team of Swedish home efficiency experts sweep into a remote town to chronicle the kitchen habits of Norway's single men. One ageing farmer bitterly resents the intrusion, but gradually comes to an amiable understanding with his reticent guest.

★★★★

Tomas Norstrom and Joachim Calmeyer will never be big stars, but there's more personality and skill in their performances in this genial comedy of manners than you'll find in a year's worth of mainstream pulp.

The initial stage of their accidental relationship centres on Isak's (Calmeyer) grumpy snubbing of the jobsworthy Folke (Norstrom), and is played out in a series of almost silent sight gags. But once forbidden contact is made, the humour becomes less situational and more about the lonely bachelors who discover the ability to communicate.

The parody of the bathing scene in Spartacus is priceless, but it would have been even more fascinating had Hamer developed the idea of the differences between the two neighbours. However, instead of exploring Norway's experience under the Nazis and its views on Swedish neutrality, he contents himself with asides on food, tobacco and driving on opposite sides of the road.

Fans of both Harold Pinter and Last Of The Summer Wine will rejoice - and how often can you say that?