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The Dreamers: A Review(very mild spoilers)

 
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: 03.17.2004 5:50 am    Post subject: The Dreamers: A Review(very mild spoilers) Reply with quote

Before entering the theater, I was already applauding Bernardo Bertolucci for giving a big "screw you" to the American censor board and releasing his film with an NC-17 rating. Now, whether the film would be a success was still in the air, but I had no qualms about forking over my cash and supporting his efforts.

There was a quote in the beginning of the film that was to the effect that all things fit into place when viewed from a distance, but up close it's all chaos. This is true with Bertolucci's film. A seemingly chaotic sexual awakening on the surface, the film dives much further than that.

First and foremost, this film is not erotic. Don't go in with that misinterpretation. To see what happens on the screen as in any way erotic would be a major misunderstanding. It is a beautiful tragedy. Bertolucci's characters are lost. In a time of revolution, these three characters live in shelter; shelter of their home, shelter of their heads, shelter of their dreams. When I say this is a time of revolution, I mean in all things. It is political, musical, cinematic, sexual; all part of the revolution. They have grand ideas, notions of right and wrong, but live in hypocrisy. They are too afraid to confront reality.

Bertolucci put a stranglehold on the generation and its ideals. The films attitudes are a reflection of the time, a frame of mind of its people. The direction of the film is flawless in that sense. Once again, stealing from the script, there is a scene in which Matthew describes cinema as voyeurism, with the film being a crime and the director a criminal. Bertolucci uses film as a springboard into the fantasies of his characters, and plays off that fantasy with impeccable style. The film is extremely voyeuristic, sometimes too much so. However, it succeeds at becoming an extension of their fantasies, and easily overcomes this minor flaw.

Teo and Isabelle are products of their environment. They are actors themselves, living in a dreamworld of days past. Their mother and father are equally terrified of reality, both withdrawn and more comfortable turning their heads from conflict and disarray. While neglectful of their parents, both Teo and Isabelle follow in their footsteps. Matthew is the "innocent" bystander, a man caught up in their appeal, both intellectually and sexually.

All three actors are phenomenal in their respective roles, with no one falling into the shadows. They are the only three roles with any type of high demand, and so the film rested on their shoulders. This is no ordinary task considering the material. There are scenes that are hard to look at, let alone be a part of.

The soundtrack couldn't be any better. An explosion of experimental and revolutionary rock of that time period, it helped substatiate the atmosphere and eliminated any need for a traditional score. Each song inserted into the film by Bertolucci was not only appropriate, it was as if the song were made solely for the film.

This is a film that beckons viewers to think about the world around them and in what way they are a part of it. It is a film that needs to be seen. Whether you end up loving it or hating it, supporting its ambition is a must. An orgasm of visual and intellectual stimulation, the film becomes revolutionary in its own right. It was a film I wanted to watch again as soon as it ended. Bertolucci has created a true piece of art, one that is sure to stay with you long after the credits role.
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 03.18.2004 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice review, sir - I really enjoyed The Dreamers. I loved how it portrayed three consecutive "passions" - political, sexual, and cinematic - as inner revolutions of sorts, as simultaneous awakenings for the characters. Lots of people are complaining it's simply Bertolucci trying to copy his earlier successes, that it's pointless art shock; but how can a film that so fondly portrays film and awakening of all sorts be pointless?
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