A restless photographer and an unhappy married woman spend one night together and awake to find their worlds utterly changed in Danish filmmaker Christoffer Boe's stylish variation on Luis Bunuel's THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (1977). Rugged Danish photographer Alex David (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) abandons his pretty, loyal girlfriend Simone (Maria Bonnevie) on a Copenhagen subway train to pursue striking Swedish beauty Aimee (also Bonnevie), the neglected wife of famous and substantially older novelist August Holm (Krister Henriksson), who's in town promoting his new book. The next morning, Alex leaves a bedside note asking Aimee to meet him at a restaurant for lunch; unbeknownst to her, August sees the note and, realizing Aimee has been with someone else, regrets the way he's treated her and resolves to win her back. Alex, meanwhile, returns to the apartment he and Simone share to find it simply gone. Where once there was an apartment door there's now only a wall; the longtime downstairs neighbor (Malene Schwartz) looks at Alex as though he were mad and married friends Leo and Nan (Nicolas Bro, Helle Fagralid) treat him like a complete and rather alarming stranger. Alex assumes Simone has recruited them to play an elaborate prank on him for staying out all night. But when he sees her on the street, she too looks at him without the faintest flicker of recognition. Are Alex and Aimee trapped in a dream, victims of some cruel cosmic caprice, or merely characters in the new tale of romantic agony August is writing, subject to his every authorial whim? Boes and cowriter Mogens Rukov's slippery screenplay doubles back on itself, repeating, revisiting and reconstructing key moments in a rectangular romantic triangle that begins with a busker levitating a cigarette and ends in a puff of smoke. Boe's surefooted manipulation of characters and themes is genuinely dazzling, and cinematographer Manuel Alberto Claro gives the film an intoxicating look with cold, hard blues and whites that isolate Alex and Aimee in a cool, modern landscape and rich red tones that surround the passionate beginning of their transformative affair. Bonnevie's dual performances are remarkable, from her subtle expressions to the startling physical transformation she undergoes the slightly mousy Simone and coolly gorgeous Aimee genuinely look like two different women. Though ultimately the film is all smoke and mirrors, the sensibility it reflects is rich and exciting.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: A restless photographer and an unhappy married woman spend one night together and awake to find their worlds utterly changed in Danish filmmaker Christoffer Boe's stylish variation on Luis Bunuel's THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (1977). Rugged Danish photog… (more)