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Reconstruction

In "Reconstruction," a Danish photographer doesn't know whether he's coming or going after a possibly pre-ordained chance encounter with a Swedish woman. Valiant attempt to innovate in the well-trod realm of Boy Meets Girl doesn't quite coalesce despite a thoughtful and distinctive visual approach. High profile Nordic thesps may put this across in Scandi territories, but broader career beyond feasts seems less certain.

With:
Alex David - Nikolaj Lie Kaas Aimee Holm/Simone - Maria Bonnevie August Holm - Krister Henriksson

This review was corrected May 20, 2003.

In “Reconstruction,” a Danish photographer doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going after a possibly pre-ordained chance encounter with a Swedish woman. Valiant attempt to innovate in the well-trod realm of Boy Meets Girl doesn’t quite coalesce despite a thoughtful and distinctive visual approach. High profile Nordic thesps may put this across in Scandi territories, but broader career beyond feasts seems less certain.

Four characters’ paths cross, re-cross and criss-cross over two days in Copenhagen. Danish novelist — and narrator — August (Krister Henriksson) is married to Aimee (Maria Bonnevie, “I Am Dina”), a beautiful Swede at least 10 years his junior. Young photographer Alex (Nikolaj Lie Kaas, “The Idiots,” “Open Hearts”) has been dating Simone (also played by Bonnevie) for some time.

Although he’s headed home with Simone, Alex ditches her when he finds himself irresistibly drawn to Aimee on a subway landing. Sensing an instant psychic bond, the impromptu couple shares an impetuous night of romance while August, whose prose reflects the turbulence of love, is away working on his latest book.

But this intense adulterous fling seems to rip a hole in the fabric of Alex’s universe. The next day, his best friend doesn’t recognize him, Simone claims she’s never seen him before in her life, his own father rejects him as a loony stranger — and that’s just the start of his troubles.

Widescreen lensing favors extreme close-ups laced with meaningful looks, borderline banal dialogue and unapologetically old-fashioned clouds of cigarette smoke. Venture manages the strange combo of being deeply cinematic while relying a bit too much on voice-over exposition. Most scenes emphasize a glacial blue palette and are so artfully grainy that the air around thesps appears to be dancing at the molecular level. Partly classical score imparts emotional heft, not all of which is entirely earned.

Reconstruction

Critics' Week / Denmark

Production: A Nordisk Film Production, Director's Cut, HR. Boe & Co., TV2 production. (International sales: Nordisk Film, Copenhagen.) Produced by Tine Grew Pfeiffer. Executive producer, Johnny Andersen. Co-producers, Ake Sandgren, Lars Kjeldgaard. Directed by Christoffer Boe. Screenplay, Mogens Rukov, Boe.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Manuel Alberto Claro; editors, Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, Peter Brandt; music, Thomas Knak; art director, Martin de Thurah; costume designer, Gabi Humnicki; sound (Dolby), Morten Green. Reviewed at Cinematheque Francaise Grands Boulevards, Paris, May 5, 2003. (In Cannes Film Festival -- Critics' Week.) Running time: 91 MIN.

With: Alex David - Nikolaj Lie Kaas Aimee Holm/Simone - Maria Bonnevie August Holm - Krister HenrikssonWith: Nicolas Bro, Peter Steen, Isa Dwinger, Malene Schwartz, Helle Fagralid. (Danish and Swedish dialogue)

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