Saturday, June 03, 2006

Movies: "The Girl From Paris" "Kitchen Stories"

Directors: Chrisitan Carion 2001, Bent Hamer 2003
By accident I rented these two films--one French, one Swedish--which have similar premises and themes.
"The Girl From Paris" tells the story of Sandrine (Mathilde Seigner), a woman in her late 20s who decides to leave her job as a computer teacher and go to agriculture school. Two years later, she buys a farm in the Rhones-Alps with the understanding that the older, widowed farmer, Adrien (Michel Serrault), can stay on for 18 months. There is no love lost between these two. Adrien doesn't think she will survive the harsh winter. Sandrine is a clever marketer of her farm, making goat cheese which she sells on the Internet. After converting a barn into living quarters, she also rents out rooms to well-to-do guests. Then winter sets in, and it is indeed harsh. But slowly, Sandrine and Adrien become unlikely friends.
"Kitchen Stories" is set in the early 1950s. A Swedish efficiency expert observes the kitchen habits of a Norwegian farmer. He does this by sitting in a high-chair (think tennis ref) in a kitchen corner. He is forbidden to speak or interact with the farmer. But human nature being what it is, they, too, strike up an unlikely friendship.
These are quirky, quite wonderful movies.
("The Girl From Paris" has two brief, disturbing scenes of animals being slaughtered, an obvious fact of life on most farms.)


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