A delightful surprise, Kitchen Stories snuck out of Norway four years ago, winning acclaim at Cannes and other festivals. The premise is not inherently funny: in a rural post-World War II community, scientific observers are stationed in the kitchens of single men to record their daily routines. Yet the dry, deadpan absurdity of the situation -- a silent scientist sitting in a high chair like a lifeguard surveying a pool of unruly children, watching a bemused bachelor puttering around his kitchen -- was nicely counterpointed by the steely grays and blues of the color palette and a keen understanding of human behavior.

Director Bent Hamer next made the English-language Factotum, starring Matt Dillon and based on a novel by Charles Bukowski, which was praised at Cinematical by both Karina Longworth and James Rocchi. For his latest feature, Hamer has returned to his homeland. The title character of O'Horten is a train engine driver who "realises that his future is a voyage without printed timetables and well-known stops. Horten has become an old-age pensioner, and the platform is no longer a safe place to be," according to the director. Veteran actor Bård Owe will portray Odd Horten.

Again, the premise is slender, but the web site of John Erik Kaada, who composed the musical score, tantalizes further: "For the first time in almost 40 years, tidy-minded Odd Horten will be late and miss his last departure. ... Horten falls into a fateful odyssey, stumbling around in red high-heeled shoes and ending up in the passenger seat of a car whose driver finds his way through the traffic wearing a blindfold." No trailer yet, but Kaada's site has two lovely sound clips.O'Horten is a good bet to pop up on the festival circuit next spring after its release in Norwegian theaters at the end of December.
categories Cinematical