Friday, August 14, 2015

Reprise (2006)

Director: Joachim Trier
Writers:  Joachim Trier, Eskil Vogt
Cast:      Anders Danielsen Lie, Espen Klouman Hoiner, Viktoria Winge
Language: Norwegian

Two competitive friends- Philip & Erik, fueled by literary aspirations and youthful exuberance, endure the pangs of love, depression and burgeoning careers. Philip gets his novel published first but suffers from a psychosis which hinders his writing. Erik is still waiting for his first book to be published. They have a circle of friends, mostly from 'other' part of Oslo, whom doesn't share many of their interests particularly but all of them still hang out together signifying that they are still finding their feet in the world ahead of settling down.

It is unique film that deals with something that should be relatable to all. Event though it is told from the perspective of the two young writers and seem like a film about writing and success, it is actually about friendship. Most films, dealing with such a subject, have a tendency to show a higher degree of friendship between all members of the group. This one doesn't do so as the two central characters have the deepest friendship and with the rest, they have varying degrees of depth of relationship, as all of them don't have much in common. Most of us acquire different sets of friends/acquaintances in each stage of our life- one set from school/neighborhood, another one during college and another one from work. If you go by the personalities of people in each set, it will differ based on where you are at in terms of your own personality at that point of time in your life. The former most set, from school/neighborhood, will mostly have the most diverse set of personalities as they were acquired at a time when you have not figured yourself out yet and there is a sense of default aspect to it since you didn't have much choice regarding the geographic location of your home. The set of people in this film is also one like that as it conveys Oslo's small-town nature.

It does have a slightly complex and quirky narrative with multiple characters. You get seamless time-jumps and narration over imagined sequences, which reminded me very much of Spike Lee's '25th Hour'. There is a lengthy such sequence towards the end of the film which we are not sure whether it was just imaginary or whether all the characters in it did have a happy ending. The central characters are portrayed in such a way that we are not sure whether they are really happy when good things happen to the other. It is really a adult way of handling such friendships on screen, a rare thing to see in films as people have a tendency to take it to 11, unnecessarily. 

Overall it is a great watch and was Norway's official submission for the Academy Awards. It won't be up everyone's alley and one's level of enjoyment will very much depend on what it evokes in you. Jaochim Trier made his directorial debut with this film and am gonna check out his other films, if I can actually obtain them. I haven't seen many films from Norway as it looks like the least prolific when compared to the other two Scandinavian countries- Sweden and Denmark. That said, 'Kraftidioten' from last year was indeed a great one from Norway.

Rating: 4/5