Nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2002 Oscars and set for a US remake by Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street production company, "Elling" is the gentle tale of two mentally disturbed Norwegians struggling to make their way in the world.
Obsessive-compulsive oddball Elling (Per Christian Ellefsen) and his dense, loutish roommate Kjell Bjarne (Sven Nordin) are released from a provincial mental hospital and re-housed in a state-subsidised Oslo apartment.
At first they are too scared to go outside. But with the encouragement of social worker Frank (Jørgen Langhelle) they pluck up the courage to take the first tentative steps back to normality.
In a country where "Care in the Community" has become a mocking euphemism for state-sanctioned neglect, such sympathetic treatment seems the stuff of fantasy.
But it sets the tone for a good-natured comedy in which eccentricity is something to be cherished, not shunned.
The Odd Couple becomes an even stranger trio once the virginal Kjell falls for pregnant neighbour Reidun (Marit Pia Jacobsen).
Elling seeks solace in poetry evenings, achieving underground fame as "The Sauerkraut Poet" after slipping his verse inside grocery items.
One shudders to think how syrupy this slender fable might become should it fall into the hands of a Hollywood hack like Chris Columbus or Tom Shadyac.
But director Peter Naess keeps sentiment at bay by grounding the plot in recognisable human foibles and failings while Ellefsen and Nordin - who originated their characters on stage - inhabit their roles with an almost unsettling naturalism.
In Norwegian with English subtitles.