Projections - Movie Reviews

The Dreamers
The Dreamers
Starring Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel,
Robin Renucci, Anna Chancellor, Florian Cadiou

Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers re-visits the highly erotic territory and setting of his Last Tango of Paris released uncut with an NC-17 rating. Sex has been a starting point for many films, most recently with Jeremy Irons and Liv Tyler in Stealing Beauty. The ideas simmering from the intimacy between his Dreamer characters have initial intrigue, but fail to take hold despite the controversy unfolding from an appealing, mostly unknown cast.

His American actor is Michael Pitt Murder by Numbers who is Matthew, a 20-year-old cinema devotee in sixties Paris as protests in the streets are rocked by politics and art. Under these conditions he meets a local, sensual young woman named Isabelle (Eva Green) and her twin brother Theo (Louis Garrel). Their sophisticated, art-influenced parents (Robin Renucci and Anna Chancellor) persuade Matthew to move in their comfy flat over a dilapidated hotel.

When mom and dad take off for a month, the backdrop of rioting Paris is countered by a charged sexual experience for Theo, Isabelle, and Matthew. The leads are captivating and bright with Pitt negotiating the role with the self-assurance of a Leonardo DiCaprio. Green is striking and sultry, and she adds a subtly absorbing enigmatic quality to Theo.

The Dreamers are young people trying to understanding their milieu drifts with their unfocused thoughts, against the fear and loathing around them. The relations of Matthew, Isabelle, and Theo change as they test each other's thresholds. Bertolucci goes for a union of sexuality and idealism from Gilbert Adair's screenplay off his own novel “The Holy Innocents.” Yet, the menage a trois that develops is a let down. The purpose and motivation of the twins is not clear except they act out sex like children playing with toys in a tent built of blankets.

The production invites mystery in flourishes of lovely cinematography in some well-staged transitions by Bertolucci from the apartment to sparkling clips from a range of films which are most effective. Whatever empathy is brought early on for these adolescents experimenting in carnal knowledge, an implicit pretentiousness has little daring persuasion to it, and the parents actions are far more curious than the free open sexuality of the three. Given the taboo rating, this startling flirtation never tangos as well in Paris as it could have.

The Dreamers

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