Forming a Trilogy? By Blagoja Kunovski

in 25th Istanbul International Film Festival

by Blagoja Kunovski

Different from his generation, Christoffer Boe (31 years old) was not so much influenced by the Dogme guru Von Trier, even with the use of a hand-held camera by the cinematographer Manuel Claro in Allegro, but obviously by the French Nouvelle Vague master, Jean-Luc Godard. (Boe and his producer-friend Tine Grew Pfeiffer founded a joint production company called Alpha Ville Pictures, inspired by Godard’s cult sci-fi).

After his studies together with the producer Pfeiffer and the cinematographer Claro at the National Film School of Denmark, where Boe made his very important trilogy of shorts: Obsession, Virginity and Anxiety, it seems that he is on the way to composing his feature film trilogy. The first part was his debut feature Reconstruction which won the Camera d’Or in Cannes 2003 (Boe was also the recipient of FIPRESCI’s Director of the Year 2003). Now, Boe is back again with his crew (meaning, Pfeiffer and Claro) with the second part of a possible trilogy, Allegro, a film that in general reminds one of Alphaville. “Reconstruction was, in every way, a declaration of love for film and the genre itself”, Boe says.

Reconstruction, like the short film trilogy, deals with a man’s obsession for a beautiful woman, and the enchantment of falling in love at first sight, when he asks her in a café if she wants to go to Rome with him. Allegro is about a man, an excellent pianist, who returns from New York to his native city of Copenhagen. (Different from Reconstruction where Rome as a city is not shown and exists only through associations, New York is present visually). He has lost the love of his life together with the sense for music and playing and because of that he “intentionally” tries to forget his past. Like in Reconstruction, the mysterious story in Allegro is placed in the Zone — a no-mans land of central Copenhagen, where the pianist Zetterstrom (leading Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen) enters a Kafkaesque labyrinth in search for his lost love (model and photographer Helena Christensen), feeling himself a stranger lost in his own city. Zetterstrom is challenged to get inside the Zone (kept by the police forbidding the citizens to break the membrane-wall) and get his past back as a catharsis.

After the screening of Allegro in Istanbul, at the traditional Q&A with the audience, Boe said that for him Von Trier is not as important as Tarkovski whom he considers as a kind of god. The influence of Tarkovski’s Stalker in Allegro is so obvious; I would say a mixture of Alphaville and Stalker. Both, in Reconstruction and in Allegro the visual flair is given by Boe’s main creative collaborator, the cinematographer Manuel Claro. (Last year he participated in the Jury of the 26th IFCF-International Film Camera Festival “Manaki Brothers” in Bitola, Macedonia, together with the triple-Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro as President.) Boe considers Claro as one of the most talented in the Young Danish Cinema. The hand-held camera (Claro shot Allegro as well as Reconstruction) — first on 16mm then blown up into 35mm — creates a sort of city-portrait of Copenhagen. Regarding this, Claro says: “If you don’t have 35mm, don’t try to make it look as if it is 35mm. Do not pretend, use the format, go with the format… we wanted to do a film that has its own quality”. That is why it is expected that the team are on their way to concluding their love-trilogy incorporated in the spirit of Copenhagen. Maybe the third part would be a kind of black-comedy. Why not?