Drama, art/France/English, French (Japanese subtitles)/115mins
Starring: Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Fox Searchlight Pictures
"I have at last met some real Parisians!" writes
Matthew, a young American visiting Paris, to his parents. He doesn’t
tell the folks back home that he met them on a political protest and that
after being invited to stay with them he has slipped into some decidedly
Theo and Isabelle invite Matthew to stay with them at their apartment
and he is a tad nonplussed at the frank steaminess of the siblings’ relationship:
they sleep naked in the same bed and wander around in permanent undress.
But it’s OK, they were conjoined twins and they show him the scars
to prove it.
Apart from being odd, the three youngsters are cineastes and when Theo
flunks a movie trivia quiz his sister’s punishment for him is to
masturbate looking at his favourite picture of Marlene Dietrich. Theo plots
a revenge where Isabelle is compelled to have sex with Matt. Now the steaminess
turns into a full-fledged semi-incestuous, bisexual ménage á trios.
Real Parisians, indeed.
The cute thing is that this is 1968 and French students and workers are
on the verge of overthrowing their own government. Rome burns as the
three little Neros fiddle with themselves, so to speak. Real events intrude
the form of the odd brick through the window.
In case you haven’t yet guessed, this is Bernardo Bertolucci of Last
Tango in Paris fame and this is no mere weirdo porno flick — though
you can watch it like that if you like. The Dreamers is lavishly filmed
and quotes pretty every other filmmaker of arty note, mostly extensively
It is a dreamy indulgence in this seminal period of history, and when
the three youngsters are not bonking they are idealizing, their philosophy
veering between youthful silliness and real revolutionary pragmatism.
of Mao jostle with portraits of the stars.
This is Bertolucci, so this is no sentimental trip down memory lane and
we see him separating the fluff from the real stuff as the sex games
end in the streets, swept away in the protests as if in the tide of history.
Review by Chris Page