The Dreamers

The Dreamers
Released: April 29 2004
Cast: Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel, Robin Renucci, Anna Chancellor, Florian Cadiou
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Genre: Drama
Rated: R High Level Sex Scenes, Adult Themes
Running Time: 115 Minutes

It's Happening So Fast

Left alone in Paris whilst their parents are on holiday, Isabelle (Eva Green) and her brother Theo (Louis Garrel) invite Matthew (Michael Pitt), a young American student, to stay at their apartment. Here they make their own rules as they experiment with their emotions and sexuality while playing a series of increasingly demanding mind games.

Set against the turbulent political backdrop of France in the spring of 1968 when the voice of youth was reverberating around Europe, THE DREAMERS is a story of self-discovery as the three students test each other to see just how far they will go.

THE DREAMERS was helmed by Bernardo Bertolucci, whose film THE LAST EMPEROR swept the 1987 Academy Awards® garnering nine Oscars® including Best Director and Best Picture. It marks his third film shot in Paris, following THE CONFORMIST and the Oscar-nominated LAST TANGO IN PARIS.

The film stars Michael Pitt (recently seen in the award-winning HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, and with Sandra Bullock in MURDER BY NUMBERS) Eva Green in her feature film debut, and Louis Garrel, who previously appeared in Yolande Zauberman's LA GUERRE A PARIS.

My Verdict:
Michael Pitt plays the role of young American student Matthew, who spends most of his time at the Cinémathèque in Paris, where he meets Theo and Isabelle. They befriend him and invite him back to their home. Being new to Paris, Matthew is keen to indulge them as they seem his type and he is still adjusting to life in Paris. Theo and Isabelle's parents welcome Matthew also, and seem happy for him to stay as they head off on their summer holiday. Then the games begin.

As the three friends are all film lovers, they act out scenes from movies and try to guess the scene and the star. This continues as the threesome discovers more about each other. They drink too much, eat well and forget that there is another world outside their own. They begin to abandon all shyness and tease and bait each other with provocative suggestions. If one of them fails to recognize another's movie scene, they are obliged to perform some sort of act, usual sexual in nature. Some of these scenes are confronting and border on voyeurism, a trademark of Bertolucci's directing style. There is plenty of full frontal nudity, male and female, and much talk about sex, lust and its implications. This is where Matthew is torn as he struggles to understand the relationship that Theo and Isabelle have, which is almost incestuous. Their lifestyle during the parents' absence has almost taken a slice from each of the seven deadly sins. Eventually, the parents do return and discover the naked young adults entwined as they sleep, a house that is in a mess, a cellar robbed of fine wines and they are generally dismayed at the youngsters seeming abandonment of discretion. This leads to a potentially tragic situation, which is interrupted by the outside protests of Paris in the late 1960's.

'The Dreamers' was shot entirely on location, which is another of Bertolucci's trademarks, although most of the film takes place inside the apartment of Theo and Isabelle. It may revive memories for some, and also show a side to the beginning of the sexual revolution. It could be possible to be offended by some of the subject matter and sex scenes and hence the restricted rating. Perhaps not an overly enjoyable film, it is nevertheless a thought provoking one but it is not a movie for everyone.

Rating : B-

Christina Bruce