14 April 2012

Film review: The Dreamers (2003), by Bernardo Bertolucci, ****


Paris, spring 1968. While most students take the lead in the May 'revolution', a French poet's twin son Theo and daughter Isabelle enjoy the good life in his grand Paris home. As film buffs they meet and 'adopt' modest, conservatively educated Californian student Matthew.

With their parents away for a month, they drag him into an orgy of indulgence of all senses, losing all of his and the last of their innocence. A sexual threesome shakes their rapport, yet only the outside reality will break it up.


The Dreamers is a good story about spoiled bourgeois kids in Paris in the late 1960s. Revolting against middle-class life in a capitalist country. Worshipping Mao while dreaming of an ideal world. How many lives were wasted like this. The kids want to be transgressive but have no idea what they really want. A naive American student they adopt as one of their own tries to bring them back to reality, but to no avail. The movie shows how many youths rejected the world and the values of their families but had nothing to propose instead.

"Be realistic. Demand the impossible." It was one of their most telling slogans.

True of most of Western Europe, not just France.

An excellent movie to understand that period of history. Not the most well known of Bernardo Bertolucci's films but definitely worth watching almost half a century after the events that inspired it.

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