Kitchen Stories, 2004, is my kind of film; quirky, thoughtful, and bittersweet. It's inspired by a 1950s group of Swedish researchers sent to Norway for a study of kitchen habits of middle-aged bachelors, ultimately used to design efficient kitchens. The analyst, perched in a hilariously high chair, like a tennis umpire, observes in the corner of the kitchen, under strict instructions not to interact with his cantankerous subject. Eventually, the men break the rules and end up forging a touching relationship.
The quiet, understated humor of this gentle little film, had me giggling at first, then laughing out loud. Some might see it as an allegory of a totalitarian regime, but I think it's really just a theme of simple human nature and friendship. Do yourself a favor and add this charming flick to your list before winter is over; it's set with a stark, snow-laden backdrop, perfect for this time of year. Wear woolly socks. Eat popcorn. Laugh.