Reprise: Feature Debut of Joachim Trier, Nephew of Lars Von Trier

A stylistically bold drama about the joys and sorrows of twentysomething creative youths, Reprise marks the impressive feature debut of Joachim Trier (the nephew of the noted and notorious Lars Von Trier) who wrote the screenplay with Eskil Vogt.

An official selection of MoMA’s New Directors/New Films and the Sundance Film Festival, Reprise has won the Best Director Award at the 2007 Karlovy Vary Film Festival as well as the Discovery Award at last years Toronto Film Festival. Miramax will release this exciting film in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, May 16, followed by a national rollout.

First comes first: Joachim Trier is an original, idiosyncratic filmmaker, uninfluenced by his uncles cinematic approach or the tenets of Denmarks philosophy Dogme 95. The most striking element of Reprise is the complete harmony between form and substance, or style and contents. In fact, as in the best New Wave films, form IS contents since its really impossible to separate these two dimensions.

The freewheeling passion of youth and the unpredictable perils of fate are both the subject and the breathtaking form of Joachim Triers lean yet dynamic journey through friendship, love, madness and creativity. In this classic rites-of-passage tale, Trier captures the way life takes off at rocket-speed in the beginning of adulthood, and the what-ifs and why-nots that both drive and haunt us as the unbridled hopes of youth come to a screeching halt.

The story, which by American standards is fast-moving and highly kinetic, begins when Phillip (Anders Danielson Lie) and Erik (Espen Klourman Hoiner) stand at a seemingly prosaic place, the mailbox. They come across as two cocky, grinning rebels full of verve, fantasies, and dreamsthey project the impression that their whole lives hanging in the balance at this singular moment.

Each man is about to ship off his first novel to publishers, each is hoping to become a wildly influential cult author, each has visions of a new life of non-stop intensity, brilliance, romance and nightclubbing.

Cut to six months later, when the duos reveries have been crashed, and they are thrown hard into reality. Phillip, whose novel garnered instant acclaim and turned him into a mini-celebrity, has gone through a terrible breakdown and is just about to be released from a psychiatric hospital. In contrast, Erik, who never sold his novel, is still pecking away, determined to follow in the footsteps of his undying hero, a reclusive but idolized writing genius, no matter what it takes.

The tale at the center of Reprise may sound simple and familiar, but the world in which it is contained is anything but. Trier and his co-writer deserve high praise for conveying the turbulent inner worlds of their lively protagonists by using some interesting devices, such as a dry and witty, and occasionally ironic voice-over narration.

Indeed, Reprise explores not just what happens to Phillip and Erik as they pick up the pieces, but what might have happened to them, what they imagine could happen, what they fear will possibly happen and what they cant see actually happening.

Effortlessly moving both backwards and forwards in time, via a dazzling mix of flashbacks, rapid-fire editing, philosophical voiceovers and comical flights of fancy, the film traces how Erik and Phillip arrived at this precipice where exuberant youth runs into the harsher side of reality, depicting in the process the potential excitement as well as melancholy of one of lifes most anticipated phases.

In its native Norway, the film won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay at the national film awards. The unusual, largely non-professional cast includes Anders Danielsen Lie, a doctor and musician, as the romantically enigmatic Philip, and advertising copywriter Espen Klouman Hiner, as the sly and charismatic Erik. Newcomer Viktoria Winge is Kari, Phillips girlfriend and muse, with whom he tries over and over to recreate the elusive source of his inspiration.

The film is produced by Karin Julsrud and executive produced by Marius Holst, Alain Monne, Hkon vers, Turid versveen, Aagot Skjeldal, Pl Sletaune and Scott Rudin.