By Sean Axmaker
In Christopher Boe's Allegro [official site], a world acclaimed concert pianist (played by Ulrich Thomsen) is formally invited to reclaim his lost past. You see, it's preserved in an impenetrable and inexplicable bubble in the center of Copenhagen. Imagine a cross between Andrei Tarkovksy and The Matrix, with a whimsical flair and a mischievous narrator (Henning Moritzen) who may be a guardian angel, an ironic devil, or simply an existential master of ceremonies. But behind the whimsy and fantasy and playfulness is a well of melancholy in a very mortal tale of love, loss and the emotions that make us complete.
You could apply a quote from Boe's debut film, the wily romantic comedy Reconstruction: "It is a film, it is all a construction. But even so, it hurts." Or just turn to Boe's own words, "It is very important that you understand the movie is actually playful. It likes being a movie, it's playing with how you can tell a story, and it doesn't really take itself too seriously."
Both Reconstruction and Allegro enjoy being films. They are poetic fantasies, grown-up fairy tales, and sad, melancholy stories of love played out in dreamlike echoes of the material world. You could say that, as in films of David Lynch, profound emotional events recreate reality beyond physical explanation for these characters, or that these are elaborate metaphors that take on a life of their own, or that these are simply beautiful musings with characters captive in a story spun by an author playing out variations on a theme.
Christopher Boe enjoys being a filmmaker, that much is clear. He was accompanying his film, Allegro, at the 2006 Seattle International Film Festival when, at the last minute, an interview opportunity came my way. That nightmare all interviewers fear - dead battery in the tape recorder - hit early in the interview and was caught after a very lively conversation. Boe was gracious enough to revisit some of those lost topics and most everything was re-covered and recovered, or, one might say, reconstructed.
In an interview on the Reconstruction DVD, you remark that you had just come out of film school and had the opportunity to make this film and you had the right to your director's cut, as long as you stayed within the budget. That can't be a common experience for director's fresh out of film school, can it?
No, I think Denmark is a different kind of place than America. You have greater control of subject matter when you hand in the film, but it was quite extraordinary being handed an opportunity, saying basically, "You have a budget, fill it out. Just make something." So I was very fortunate. That was a lot of things working together. People liked my graduation movie, which was one thing, and another thing was that they were starting up this slate [of productions] and they needed four pictures.
I think the producers just thought, "Okay, we have three proven directors and, hopefully, they're going to make money, and we have a fourth and we can just give it to somebody who we think would be interesting, who might turn out something good or might turn out something crappy, but then again it's in a slate financing situation." And they just gave it to me.
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