Drawing inspiration from the young-artists-in-angst tales of Godard, Truffaut and the French new wave, Joachim Trier's
is both a charming homage and a vibrant work in its own right.
Although only a few whimsical flashbacks appear in black and white, this Norwegian film is so full of the spirit of its Gallic forbears that it feels black and white, even as you're gazing at the blue eyes of actress Viktoria Winge, or the red blood splattered on the sleeve of one of Reprise's two writer protagonists.
Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman-Høiner) are good friends, gents in their 20s, aspiring authors who dream of changing the world with their (respective) novels. Eventually, they each publish, to differing degrees of success. Reprise tracks the trajectories of their budding literary careers, their friendship, love lives, and, in the case of Phillip, his bouts with psychosis.
It's a malady, doctors say, brought on by his obsessive romance with Kari (the aforementioned Winge), a raven-haired muse he meets at a punk club.
Although Reprise has its dire, desperate moments (yes, there are suicide attempts - this is a movie from Scandinavia, after all), Trier's kinetic visual style and use of an ironic narrator leavens the mood considerably. With pop-culture nods to Russ Meyer, Joy Division and Ken Russell's The Music Lovers, the film references the past as it looks to the future.
Wheeling and exuberant, Reprise captures the idealism and romanticism of the young and the literary - and also the immaturity, the boys'-club brutishness.
The people in Erik and Phillip's circle get hurt. Erik and Phillip hurt themselves. But then they get to write about it, and hop a plane from Oslo to Paris, where they can run around, sit in cafes, and spill their souls on the typewriter's page.
Reprise *** (out of four stars)
Directed by Joachim Trier. With Anders Danielsen Lie, Espen Klouman-Høiner and Viktoria Winge. Distributed by Miramax Films. In Norwegian with subtitles.
Running time: 1 hour, 45 mins.
Parent's guide: R (sex, profanity, violence, adult themes)
Playing at: Ritz FiveEndText