The Dreamers


Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci
Written by:Gilbert Adair
Starring: Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel, Anna Chancellor, Robin Renucci
Released: April 29, 2004
Grade: B+

Paris, France, 1968.  Almost every evening, film-buff Matthew (Pitt) leaves his small hotel room and walks to the nearby movie theatre to take in a night’s entertainment.  Somewhat of a loner, the theatre provides the American-born Matthew a world of escape.

One afternoon though, the theatre is closed.  A swarm of students are outside conducting a demonstration rally against the French government while the police look on.  Under direction from the government, the cinema’s curator had been removed of his post and the cinema closed.  This was just the tip of the iceberg and it is a true story that France was brought to its knees in May 1968 as a result of these student riots.

Matthew had never really made any friends in Paris but spots a fellow filmgoer outside the closed theatre and shyly introduces himself.  Her name is Isabelle (Green) and is always accompanied by her twin brother, Theo (Garrel).  With no movies to attend, the three walk around town, talk movies and for Matthew, it’s the greatest night of his life.  But it’s only just beginning…

The next day he is invited to dinner with Isabelle and Theo and on the next, he is invited to move in with them.  With their parents away on a holiday, Matthew, Isabelle and Theo have the lavish house to themselves for a whole month.

To say there is a sexual tension between all three is an understatement.  You should expect nothing less from director Bernardo Bertolucci who made the explicit The Last Tango In Paris in 1972 won an Oscar for The Last Emperor in 1987.  The film comes from the novel by Gilbert Adair which I only finished reading a few weeks ago.  The novel is very different but the expected sex and nudity does come through on screen.  You’re unlikely to see so much of it in another film this year.

But the purpose of this film isn’t to push the boundaries of cinema.  It’s a story about three people who become consumed by each other and create world that seems fine to them but frowned upon by outsiders.  The performances from stars Michael Pitt, Eva Green and Louis Garrell are all very good and their personalities match what I’d expect having read the novel.  Pitt is creating quite an impressive arthouse resume having appeared in the well received Hedwing And The Angry Inch, Bully and Changing Lanes.

The film takes a little while to develop and the ending is a touch weak but the body of The Dreamers will take you away from the monotony of life and into a crazy sexual odyssey.