- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Kitchen Stories, a Norwegian import playing exclusively at the Landmark E Street Cinema, is probably too droll and hermetic to attract a large following, but it proves a gem of deadpan comic miniaturism. The Norwegian entry for the 2003 Academy Awards, it failed to make the finals for best foreign language film, but it would have been a worthy choice to go the distance. Writer-director Bent Hamer satirizes the high-handed tendencies of the Swedes, whose success with a time-and-motion efficiency survey of their own homemakers in the 1940s has prompted a narrowly focused follow-up project a decade later: diagramming the kitchen habits of bachelor farmers in southern Norway. A detached Swedish observer named Folke (Tomas Norstrom) is given the silent treatment by his reluctant Norwegian host Isak (Joachim Calmeyer) until their underlying decency shines through, leading to a thaw and a friendship that accentuates the absurd nature of their “scientific” relationship.

— Gary Arnold

The Cultural Center of the Inter-American Development Bank currently showcases the beautiful and complex art of Peru in its unusual exhibit, Tradition and Entrepreneurship: Popular Arts and Crafts from Peru. The center says the country is well-known for its multiethnic and multicultural roots, which reach back over 10,000 years to their beginnings in Asia, and came down through the Pacific to the pre-Incas and Incas, and finally to the Europeans who mixed their culture with the native peoples. Clay and marble religious sculptures, intricately painted ceramic bowls, and brilliantly colored textiles of alpaca wools are just a few of the arts shown. In addition, many of these handicrafts hold certain designs that have been adopted for mass production to help boost the economies of the often poor settlements. At the IDB Cultural Center, 1300 New York Ave. NW. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday through April 30. Free. 202/623-3774.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle

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