The Wall Street Journal - 13.08.2019

(Ann) #1

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Tuesday, August 13, 2019 |A

Yes, You

Can Kondo

Your Fridge

Color-coordinated produce and tidy

shelves have some hearing ‘angels sing’




and making
in which he
plays the part
of truth-
seeker have
led to com-
parisons with
the gonzo
journalism of
Hunter S.
“I like the energy in the gonzo
approach,” Mr. Brügger says.
He says that “Cold Case Ham-
marskjöld” started out as an in-
quiry into Mr. Hammarskjöld’s
death but grew to encompass se-

MADS BRÜGGER’Sdecision to
revisit the 1961 death of the United
Nations secretary-general through
a gonzo lens might seem like a pe-
culiar choice.
But that gamble appears to have
paid off. The Danish documentar-
ian’s “Cold Case Hammarskjöld”
opens in the U.S. on Friday with
momentum, having won the 47-
year-old Mr. Brügger an award for
best director in world cinema doc-
umentary at this year’s Sundance
Film Festival.
The film investigates the case of
Dag Hammarskjöld, the Swedish
diplomat who died 58 years ago
when the airplane he was traveling
in crashed in Northern Rhodesia
(now Zambia).
Mr. Hammarskjöld’s plane went
down as he was flying to the min-
eral-rich region of Katanga in an at-
tempt to prevent it seceding from
what was then known as the Repub-
lic of Congo.
The circumstances of the crash
are still unclear: A Swedish inquiry
in 1962 cited pilot error. But oth-
ers, including former President
Harry S. Truman, questioned
whether foul play was involved.
Mr. Brügger first became inter-
ested in the case in 2011 when he
read an article about a Swedish
private investigator, Göran Björk-
dahl, who had interviewed the sur-
viving witnesses of the crash.
“Cold Case” examines Mr.
Björkdahl’s claim that their testi-
mony was ignored in the original
investigation because they were
black Africans.
“This could either be the
world’s biggest murder mystery or
the world’s most idiotic conspiracy
theory,” Mr. Brügger says in his
documentary, after deciding to

cret mercenary organizations,
apartheid in South Africa and the
spread of HIV.
The documentary took nearly
seven years to make. “There were
moments of despair and despera-
tion because the financing for the
film was falling apart,” he says.
“Every year I had to meet consul-
tants of the Danish Film Institute
and explain why I wasn’t being
able to finish off the film.”
Mr. Brügger uses black-and-white
animation in parts of his film to
dramatize historical episodes that
may or may not have happened. He
also employs two secretaries who
ask him pointed questions and pro-
vide a sort of Greek chorus as the
documentary unfolds.
Above all there is the dogged
presence of Mr. Björkdahl, whom
Mr. Brügger describes as “a living
and breathing encyclopedia of ev-
erything relating to Dag Hammar-
skjöld.” In the documentary it
emerges that Mr. Björkdahl’s inter-
est in the case started when his fa-
ther, a former U.N. diplomat, gave
him a metal plate with little round
holes in it that allegedly came
from the plane that crashed with
Mr. Hammarskjöld inside it.
Mr. Brügger defends his gonzo
approach as an appropriate way of
treating such a serious topic. “I
don’t think you should shy away
from comic relief when you’re
dealing with something very sinis-
ter, evil and scary,” he says. “Espe-
cially when your film is two hours
long as this is, otherwise it would
become a horrible ordeal.”
Nonetheless Mr. Brügger noted
that his approach wasn’t entirely
foolproof. “You hope the jokes
don’t backfire,” he says. “We have
a saying in Denmark that if you
stick your butt out, your tempera-
ture will get taken.”


An Investigation Into the Death of

Dag Hammarskjöld Goes Gonzo


very item in Rayna
Greenberg’s refrigera-
tor is evenly spaced
and faces forward.
Flavored seltzers are
arranged in rainbow
order on the top shelf. Eggs are
poised in a ceramic tray. Plastic
bins with custom-made labels carry
rows of applesauce pouches, jars of
tomato sauce and chia-seed snacks.
“You hear angels sing when you
open the door and see everything
lined up perfectly,” says Ms.
Greenberg, a marketing executive
who lives in Hoboken, N.J. Since
she started meticulously organiz-
ing her refrigerator about two
years ago, Ms. Greenberg says, she
eats more fruits and vegetables
because she likes how they look in
the crisper drawers. “Aesthetically
I want them there, and then I end
up eating them.”
Refrigerators are the latest
frontier in home organization,
with color-coordinated lineups
and pristine shelves wowing
house guests, baffling family
members and inspiring boasts on
social media. Enthusiasts say tidy
drawers and shelves have them
eating healthier, buying fewer du-
plicate condiments and wasting
less food because everything is
accounted for.
The Home Edit, an organizing
firm, says refrigerator-organiza-
tion projects are its most popular
posts on Instagram, where they
have drawn 1.3 million followers.
“It hits a nerve and satisfaction
spot people didn’t even know they
were looking for,” says Clea
Shearer, the Home Edit’s co-
founder. “I don’t think that many
people think their fridge can ever
look good—it’s a forgotten space.”
While many people don’t have
big closets or pantries, refrigera-
tors are universal, tempting more
people to tackle them—and bask in
their efforts right away, says Jo-
anna Teplin, a Home Edit co-
founder. “This is a whole other
way to live, it’s a trap door where
you find a whole other world on
the other side.”
The Home Edit, which counts
Gwyneth Paltrow, Khloé Kar-
dashian and Mandy Moore among
its clients, is known for arranging
shoes, clothes, crayons and books
in rainbow order so they are easy

to find and put away.
Perishables get the same
treatment. “It inspires
food creativity and
makes you happy when
you look at it,” Ms.
Shearer says.
Before heading to the
grocery store every
week, Kristen Hong of
Dublin, Calif., usually
sketches how she wants
her refrigerator shelves
to look, planning the
colors and textures of
the fruits and vegetables
she will buy and how to
arrange them. On weeks
when she decides to fill
the shelves with one
color, she has discovered
foods she likes. “When I
did a purple fridge, I
found purple fingerling
potatoes—they are so
delicious,” Ms. Hong
says. “I get some funny
stares at Whole Foods,
especially on red and
yellow weeks, because,
you know, my whole belt
is filled with those col-
ored foods.”
Ms. Hong’s refrigerator-organiz-
ing habit started in 2016, to help
her adhere to a plant-based diet.
She has since lost 40 pounds. “It
was a way to figure out how I can
use my fridge as a tool for my
health instead of just a place
where we shoved a bunch of stuff
and were always searching for
things,” she says. “Prepping the
fridge is an act of self-love that we
can give ourselves.”
Most weeks, Ms. Hong spends a
few hours chopping fruits and veg-
etables and storing them in glass
containers in her refrigerator. She
photographs the shelves for her
Instagram feed and healthy-eating
blog, Hello Nutritarian. The photos
don’t usually show the deli drawer,
which holds her children’s sliced
turkey, cheese and pita bread. The
doors house her husband’s hot-
sauce collection and condiments
like ketchup and mustard. “I
hardly ever show my doors,” Ms.
Hong says.
The Container Store says inter-
est in refrigerator-specific storage
items has risen in the past six to
eight months. Its 21-piece “fridge
organization starter kit,” recently
on sale for $212.14, includes three

wine-bottle holders, a beverage
dispenser, water bottle, bins of dif-
ferent sizes and specialized con-
tainers for cold cuts and cheese,
eggs and even grapefruit.
In July Bosch introduced a line
of refrigerators with an adjustable
“FlexBar” along the back interior
wall, which is often unused space,
researchers found. The bar holds
hanging shelves and bins for wine

bottles, eggs, condiments and
small items that can get lost in a
cluttered refrigerator. The feature
is designed to appeal to consumers
the company considers “quality
passionate,” says Anja Prescher,
Bosch’s director of brand market-
ing. “They are the type who watch
Marie Kondo and take that idea to
their fridge,” she says. “You come
home from a busy day and feel like

They also eat more sandwiches be-
cause the meat and cheese are at-
tractively arranged in special con-
tainers, she says. Still, keeping
everything pretty means work,
such as transferring juice from a
plastic jug into a glass carafe. But
Ms. Blanks says the peace and joy
she feels every time she peeks into
the refrigerator makes the effort
worthwhile. “I don’t want to go
back to how it was,” she says.
About two months ago, Lindsey
Merlin of Rutland, Mass., spotted
photos of beautiful refrigerator
shelves online and decided to try
it. She bought 12 Mason jars and
started chopping produce every
week to fill them. Ever since, Ms.
Merlin’s daughters, 2 and 3 years
old, ask to eat more fruits and
vegetables. “It’s more appealing
for them, and even for me, so it’s
easier to make healthier choices,”
she says. The new approach makes
Ms. Merlin, a stay-at-home mother,
feel organized, at least at the be-
ginning of the week. “I open my
fridge a lot for the first two days,
just to look at it,” she says. “As the
week goes on and the food dwin-
dles down, it starts looking messy,
like a normal fridge.”

your kitchen is a respite. You want
a retreat from the chaos outside in
the world.”
To track how people stow per-
ishables, researchers at appliance-
maker Sub-Zero Group Inc. built
mock grocery aisles where they
can watch how test subjects shop
and then put the items away in a
refrigerator. “The growing trend of
farm-to-table, and always wanting
to buy the freshest produce, is
changing storing habits quite a
bit,” says Brian Jones, Sub-Zero’s
senior director of marketing. Sub-
Zero includes laminated “freshness
cards” that fit inside its refrigera-
tors, mapping ideal placement for
dozens of common items.
At home, Mr. Jones’s family
doesn’t always adhere to the sug-
gestions. After his wife and chil-
dren unload groceries, Mr. Jones
admits to rearranging them, put-
ting meat and cheese into their
designated drawers and fruits and
vegetables into separate crispers.
“They think I’m goofy,” he says.
Since Brendt Blanks, a blogger
in Birmingham, Ala., overhauled
her refrigerator in June, her family
of six drinks more water because
it’s always chilled and accessible.

A glimpse inside Kristen Hong’s refrigerator. ‘Prepping the fridge is an act of self-love that we can give ourselves,’ Ms. Hong says.


launch his own investigation with
the help of Mr. Björkdahl.
Mr. Brügger has developed a sig-
nature agitprop style in his docu-
mentaries over the years, balancing
the roles of filmmaker and subject.
“There is a clownish side of me,” he
says, “which enjoys situationism,
acting out, performing, dressing up
and so on as a way of escaping
nuts-and-bolts journalism.”
His first work to gain interna-
tional attention was a three-part
satirical documentary series he di-
rected for Danish television called

“Danes for Bush.”
In the 2004 se-
ries he and a col-
league journeyed
across the U.S.
posing as Danish
working for the
re-election of
President George W. Bush. In 2010
he won the Grand Jury Prize at
Sundance for his documentary
“The Red Chapel,” which he shot
in North Korea.
His habit of smoking with a cig-

Göran Björkdahl and Mads Brügger, above, in ‘Cold Case
Hammarskjöld,’ which opens in the U.S. on Friday. Dag
Hammarskjöld, right, died in a 1961 plane crash.

pieces in one retailer’s ‘fridge
organization starter kit’
Free download pdf