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Heavy 'Reconstruction'

By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 1, 2004; Page WE35

Danish director Christoffer Boe's remarkable debut, which won the Camera d'Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, is about the elusiveness of many things: identity, love and choices facing the artist. It manages to engage you on the literal -- the immediate story, that is -- and the abstract.

When Alex (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) sets eyes on a striking Swedish woman named Aimee (Marie Bonnevie), he becomes infatuated. There are immediate complications. She's married to August (Krister Henriksson), a sullen, successful author (who's also the narrator), and he has a girlfriend, Simone (also played by Bonnevie). No sooner has Alex started up with Aimee, when his world becomes a "Twilight Zone" nightmare. He comes to his apartment to find it's missing. And people he knows, including his own girlfriend, no longer recognize him. The film, which suggests a Scandinavian combination of David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" and Luis Buñuel's "That Obscure Object of Desire," takes us deeper into Alex's surrealistic anxieties but never lets us forget we're watching a film. It is a fascinating dance between style and substance. And even though we know the whole thing is dramatic construction, the narrator tells us, "it hurts." He's right.

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RECONSTRUCTION (Unrated, 90 minutes) --Contains sexual scenes and obscenity. In Danish with subtitles. At Landmark's E Street Cinema.


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