Pub date May 20, 2008
SectionFilm Review

REVIEW Norwegian helmer Joachim Trier may or may not be Lars von Trier’s distant relative. Let me back up a bit: according to several sources, the two directors are kin — but the former’s feature debut, Reprise, pleasantly reassures us that even if Joachim had the misfortune of sharing the same genes with Lars, at least he doesn’t share his bad sense of filmmaking. Nevertheless, the younger Dane did grow up in an environment where cinema was greatly appreciated (he first used an 8mm camera at age 4), which probably explains why his first attempt at full-length moviemaking is governed by such refreshing and refined ideas about the cinematic language. Trier is also a national skateboarding champion — something that might seem unrelated but may, on the other hand, account for Reprise‘s playful, edgy approach. Set in contemporary Oslo, the film follows friends Erik (Espen Klouman-Hoiner) and Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie), who have dreams and aspirations about becoming great cult authors. Casting mainly nonactors and employing a slew of unannounced flashbacks and flash-forwards, Trier creates a fluid chronology where happiness and sadness coexist, and potentials are imagined, shattered, and rediscovered all at once. Like its 20-year-old protagonists, Reprise is disorderly, hazy, adventurous, and inquisitive, thus adequately reutf8g the agony of youth.

REPRISE opens Fri/23 in Bay Area theaters.