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posted on 10.03.09

Joachim Trier's Reprise may be about writers, but it's not at all about writing. The film's two protagonists, best friends who become published authors in their early 20s, care more about living their lives than perfecting their craft. And living is no easy task.

Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman Høiner) entertain grand ideas about their futures: maybe they'll have ill-fated love affairs, go mad, start revolutions with their inspired prose. Some of this happens (Phillip suffers from mental illness and both young men have untidy relationships with women), but with none of the romance they had anticipated. In a particularly striking scene, Erik, trying to figure out where he fits in, shelves his freshly printed book next to novels he admires; no placement feels right. Even with his brilliance enshrined in hardcover, he feels inadequate.

Visionary intellectuals, it turns out, want what everyone else wants: acceptance, love, friendship, security. Reprise portrays the banality of being ingenious with lighthearted subtlety, a must-see for anyone who dreamt of being a writer only to realize that writing isn't a dream.

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International Film
Modernist Literature