Set in the early 50s, when Swedish home researchstudies aimed at streamlining household kitchen activitieswas all the rage, this Norwegian minimalist comedy follows the poker-faced relationship between a Norwegian bachelor farmer (Joachim Calmeyer) and the Swedish researcher (Tomas Norstrom) assigned to study him. Much of the comedy derives from the researchers’ being forbidden to converse with their subjects, though these two become friendly in spite of themselves. The humor is a bit dry for my taste, but director Bent Hamer and his actors know what they’re doing every step of the way. In Norwegian with subtitles. 91 min. (JR)
Widely and perhaps justly regarded as a comeback film for Marco Bellochio (China Is Near, Devil in the Flesh), this somber docudrama (2003) reflecting on the kidnapping and killing of Italian prime minister and Christian Democrat party head Aldo Moro in 1978 concentrates mainly on the four Red Brigade members who sequestered Moro, in particular the woman in the group. Lacking the historical background that would enable me to judge Bellochio’s treatment of this event politically as well as factuallyit has been called both detached and loaded, unfairly slanted as well as balanced by some of its criticsI can only testify that I found the film both troubling and absorbing over two separate viewings. In Italian with subtitles. 105 min. (JR)
Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s Icelandic feature about a boy coming of age during the 60sgrowing up on American movies and TV shows in Reykjavik, then discovering nature and traditional Icelandic culture at a relative’s farm. To be shown with a short film from Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto, Drop.