Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Combining pop whimsy with nuanced characters, Joachim Trier's "Reprise" constructs a simultaneously moving and satiric portrayal of two young struggling writers, Erik (Espen Klouman-Hoiner) and Phillip (Anders Danielson Lie), in Norway's chic modern professional scene. After a warm reception at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007 and a similar response later that year at New Directors/New Films, "Reprise" remained without distribution until producer Scott Rudin, a fan of the film, pressured Miramax's Daniel Battsek to purchase it. Incessantly lively, filled with contemporary references, and containing a number of creative flourishes to help give the heavier ideas a sense of levity, "Reprise" marks Trier's directorial debut. In a conversation with indieWIRE last week at the Soho Grand Hotel, the filmmaker matched the positive qualities that make his movie so distinct.

iW:A lot of movies about the writing process don't work. How did you work these two characters into a credible literary environment?

Yeah, it's a problem -- if you're going to have someone (in a film) read from the greatest novel, then you have to write the greatest novel. We're avoiding that. We're more interested in the dynamics of composition than we are in exploring exactly the contents of the books, but there are references to various writing traditions in the film, and a lot of those are, I guess, local references. They're a language-oriented literature, rather than the social-realist tradition. It's insinuated in the film that (Eric's book) 'Prosopopeya' has greater literary ambitions than being experimental, and it seems like the critics don't think it works. So we're playing around with a great literary person's desire to do the radically different story, which is kind of self-referential, because we're playing around with little things here and there. It's about very intellectual characters. We wanted to take that seriously, but we wanted to laugh a bit as well.

Read the rest of the interview in indieWIRE...

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