Joachim Trier • Director
"A cult movie for the young lost generation"
by Annika Pham
- The ambitious debut feature by Norway’s rising star filmmaker is a tribute to the French Nouvelle Vague by a director who learnt how to hold a camera before even reading and writing
Cineuropa: It’s been a year since Reprise [+see also:
interview: Joachim Trier
interview: Karin Julsrud
film profile] was launched at Karlovy Vary. I guess you’ve been a victim of your own success, ‘forced’ to travel the world with your film and picking up awards a bit everywhere…
Joachim Trier: It’s been a mad ride with Reprise since last year in Karlovy Vary. The film went to Toronto, London, Sundance, then Premiers Plans in Angers, Rotterdam, Rouen, Istanbul and many other festivals. I just couldn’t go to all of them. We’ve won 16 awards in total so far.
What is striking with Reprise is the complexity and richness of the script co-written with Eskil Vogt. How much time did you spend on the development process and also, how much of yourself did you put in the story?
It took us about four years to write. It was a long process and a lot of what you see was in the structure of the script. We wanted to tell the story of two young aspiring writers, using the form to express their personalities. There was a real richness of ideas to sustain and schizophrenic mixture of elements. We didn’t want to write a linear drama, but it was still essential to create a proper identity for the lead characters.
The lead characters are not ourselves in the sense that their life story is not ours, but I understand the main characters’ shared writing ambitions, their questioning such as: what would happen if we gave up? I do fit myself in several characters because a lot of what I write is based on personal experiences, but some characters are also antagonistic . When I write, I often ask myself: What if I had to play the part? How would I feel?
It’s a very intellectually ambitious film targeting a niche market, at the same time appealing to a broader youth audience with its punk music. How was the film received in Norway?
It was never meant to be a mainstream film but has been quite successful within a certain cultural environment, and has even become a cult movie among those young middle-class Norwegians who want to do something creative. It’s struck a chord within that generation who feel stuck in their aspirations and a bit lost in their lives.
The atmosphere in Reprise is reminiscent of François Truffaut’s films, of the French Nouvelle Vague. Was that intentional?
No, it wasn’t, apart from the introductory part of the film that is a totally autonomous sequel compressed into the film. But of course, I was inspired by Alain Resnais or Nicholas Roeg’s approach to temporal playful cinema. My grand father and my parents work in film and I held my first super-8mm camera at four and would make little animation films with my father. So I grew up immersed in film, became a real film buff and that has naturally inspired me.
The acting from the majority non-professional actors is very impressive...
Again, the influence of the Nouvelle Vague was important in the use of actors based on their own persona. I knew I wanted non-trained professional actors. Norway is a small country with a lot of amateur actors. We dug into stand-up comedian and musician databases as well. We saw over 1000 people. I also used a few trained actors such as Christian Rubeck who is much more analytical and technical in his approach to acting. Viktoria Winge who plays Phillip’s girlfriend had never played in a film before, but her father is a very well-known theatre and opera director (Stein Winge). She had done a theatre school in Norway and some singing and modelling in the UK. Now she has become quite a well known actress in Norway, playing a major part in the successful Norwegian chiller Fritt vilt (Cold Prey ) [+see also:
interview: Roar Uthaug
What are you working on right now?
I have several projects I’m working on, some written with Eskil again. I have been approached by international producers to make English language films, and of course, it would be fun working with the English language again as I studied at National Film and Television School in the UK. I want to continue making personal films, exploring various aspects of storytelling, the concept of film and the way it is told.
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