Boe directs a film directed by Bro
After Allegro [+see also:
film profile], Danish maverick director Christoffer Boe returns to Venice Days for the second year in a row, this time with the experimental Offscreen [+see also:
In the film, a director named Christoffer Boe is called upon to create a film using the footage left by actor Nicolas Bro, who has gone missing. In an early scene, Boe hands Bro a small digital camera to realise the actor's plan to make a "love film" about himself and his wife Lene (Lene Maria Christensen). But love soon runs out, so how does one make a love film without love?
"The basic idea was to make a film about a guy who can't let go of his wife," says the director. Boe only later realised that this fit well with his previous works Reconstruction (about the beginning of a relationship) and Allegro [+see also:
film profile] (about being in a relationship).
His previous films contained composed, well-lit and choreographed shots throughout, whereas for Offscreen, "we just called up a bar and asked if they would mind Nicolas coming in with a camera, and then go and shoot it". Yet for the director there "is no difference between doing a dolly shot in a studio and this," a film-within-a-film for which Nicolas was not only the protagonist but also the cinematographer.
The lack of artifice is further reduced by the fact that everyone seems to be playing a version of themselves, including Boe, Bro and Lene. Where the film stops being a documentary and strays into fiction is never clear: "I love to explore who controls fiction, who is telling the story, and this is a first person narration from a person other than me", explained the director.
The non-progress on his love film becomes an unhealthy obsession for Nicolas, whose humiliating attempts to win back his wife are much closer to an act of folly than love. The film's final scenes show what kind of genre you might end up in if you start relying too much on a film to sort out your life. Hint: it is not pretty to look at.
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