Rec.play consists of 33 short, powerful chapters edited together one after the other as apparently separate scenes. At the end of the film, those pieces all turn out to be part of a closely structured scenario filmed at different points in time and from varying angles. Here from the point of view of fourteen-year old Emma, there from the views of her classmate, Teye.
Together, the scenes tell the story of two young people. Of how they meet, how the best day of their lives ends in drama, how Teye not only loses his cat, but also threatens to lose his brother, himself and finally even his newly-found girlfriend. Many scenes explicitly explore the themes of loss, parting and mourning; others are more neutral, concerning the things that can happen to anybody at school, within the family and among friends.
When Teye, desperately seeking his lost cat, meets a girl with amazingly beautiful eyes, it is love at first sight. ‘I’ve never been alone in a room with such a pretty girl before.’ The day that love blossoms, his brother drives at seventy miles an hour into the back of a virtually stationary truck in Germany. Jikke finally dies ten days later. The one thing that constantly reminds Teye of him is his video camera. That memento becomes the straw at which Teye clutches and threatens to turn him into a cold, observing camera.
It is some time before it becomes clear whose images are being played in which chapter. But as the reconstruction of events progresses, the characters gain more profile and you discover how freeing a dead cat from the ice in the first chapter is the overture to the moving apotheoses of the final chapter.
Rec.play appeals to the emotions of the reader. But its whimsical structure – switching from today back to the past and from the past back to tomorrow – makes those emotions both exciting and manageable.