Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Dreamers


The Dreamers; Erotic drama, France/ Italy/ UK, 2003; D: Bernardo Bertolucci, S: Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel, Anna Chancellor, Robin Renucci

Paris, '68. The times are in turmoil, but the 20-year old American student Matthew is only interested in movies and cinema. One day he meets two filmophilles in front of the theaters: the young Isabelle and her twin brother Theo, who become his friends. They invite him to live in their apartment while their parents are on some trip, and he accepts. But he soon realizes they are not ashamed to show their naked bodies to each other, which shocks him. After a lost bet, Matthew is "punished" by having intercourse with Isabelle while Theo observes: at first he refuses but later on does it anyway and discovers she was still a virgin. Their relationship complicates. One morning she wakes up, realizes her parents saw her naked with her brother and decides to kill herself. But she is stopped by the student rebellions.

"The Dreamers" combine the typical calligraphy for director Bernardo Bertolucci: erotic, Marxist philosophy and existentialism, but with a big exception - unlike most of his films, this is completely unpretentious and wonderfully natural. Actually, "The Dreamers" are one of his better films. The first half is the best with the highlight of characters debating about films: Isabelle (excellent Eva Green in her film debut) is hugging a room impersonating a scene from "Queen Kristina" while Theo and Matthew are arguing about who is better: Keaton or Chaplin (which culminates in a memorable quote: "Keaton is better! He even looks like Godard!"). The numerous movie references are wonderfully refreshing while Bertolucci directs the film with an easy hand. Some would say that the second half contains only erotic and nude scenes, but the confusement during growing up and fine poetry are combined together with sufficient harmony.

Grade:++

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