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NEW YORK -- Danish filmmaker Christoffer Boe's follow-up to his acclaimed debut feature "Reconstruction" is another clever, tricky and stylized effort that produces as much confusion as satisfaction. The tale of an emotionally withdrawn concert pianist who attempts to reconnect with his feelings by entering a forbidden zone where his memories are literally sealed off, "Allegro" has art house written all over it. The film recently received its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York's Two Boots Pioneer Theater.
The central character is Zetterstrom (Ulrich Thomsen), a famous Danish pianist who has abandoned earthly pleasures, including the love of the beautiful Andrea (model Helena Christensen, making her feature starring debut), in favor of pursuing creative perfection.
When he returns to Copenhagen for a long overdue concert performance, he begins to experience troubling memories of his past love that interfere with his ability to play. Thus begins his determination to enter the "Zone," a hidden part of the city where his feelings and memories have been stored.
To say that the allegorical elements in the screenplay co-written by Boe and Mikael Wulff are heavy-handed is an understatement. That the film succeeds to the extent that it does is a testament to the filmmaker's gifts for visual stylization that are well on display here. While not all of the devices succeed -- the frequent animated interludes are overly precious, and the narration is often over-the-top -- there is an elegant solemnity to the proceedings that is ultimately compelling.