The biggest pitfalls facing young artists are early success and unrecognized potential: the first sparks feelings that the accolades are undeserved; the second, crippling self-doubt and envy. Joachim Trier's beautifully realized first feature, Reprise, focuses on best friends Erik (Espen Klouman Høiner) and Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie) as they struggle with this aesthetic Scylla and Charybdis. Trier creates a poignant portrait of youthful aspirations and disillusionment, paradoxically evoking Stephen Dedalus's juvenile fantasies about being a writer in "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and The Jam's classic "Setting Sons," still punk's best indictment of corruption. As the film opens, Erik and Phillip are mailing their first novels to publishers. An unidentified narrator picks up the story from there, describing the spoils of literary success (prizes, poetically suicidal French girls, books that inspire revolutions). Unfortunately, these fantasies don't exactly pan out. Phillip's manuscript is accepted; Erik's rejected. As Erik perserveres, Phillip encounters unexpected obstacles, including an illness that might prevent him from writing and may separate him from Kari (Viktoria Winge), the love of his life. Trier also follows the travails of Erik and Phillip's old gang: misogynistic pedant Lars (Christian Rubeck); Morten (Odd Magnus Williamson), a post-punk provocateur; and young, insecure Geir (Pål Stokka), who suspects they only hang out with him because his brother was in the legendary Oslo punk outfit Kommune. (His brother now heads up a marketing firm; as the narrator puts it, "iconic punk developed naturally into cynical consumerism.") Reprise explores growing up in a post-punk world, where there's plenty to object to but fewer and fewer ways to do it. Reprise is at once ebullient, with a comically whimsical take on fate and the pretensions of the literary world, and shot through with sorrow - not because corruption, disillusionment and disappointment are inevitable, but because they're permanent possibilities. But Trier is far too smart to mine simple dichotomies. The true challenge facing the characters in this witty and bracing film is how to balance their adolescent rebelliousness with their changing fortunes.