Daydream Believer

        I have wanted to see Bertolucci’s The Dreamers (2003) for some time now, but I did not get to see it until late this semester. I was intrigued by a movie that was supposedly so sexual and controversial in the United States that it received an NC-17 rating. If I recall two of the last NC-17 ratings in the U.S. were Paul Verhoven’s 1995 Showgirls and Vincent Gallo’s 2003 The Brown Bunny, but these had been out for sometime now. So I was wondering, what could our desensitized culture possibly be so worried about in this movie?

        I watched the film, and the answer to that question is nothing. The film had several sexual scenes, which were a little more graphic than an R-rating, and one does see a penis in the film. However, there have been numerous films to date that have showed male genitalia that have received an R-rating. Despite its horrible rating, was one of the best films I have seen in a while. It deals with the love affair between three teenagers in the middle of tumultuous political riots in Paris in 1968. Matthew (Michael Pitt), Isabelle (Eva Green), and Theo (Louis Garrel) are drawn together in this affair by their simple of love of film. Throughout the movie, Bertolucci uses scenes from classic films, such as Chaplin’s 1931 City Lights and the 1932 version of Scarface, directed by Howard Hawks, as these characters use film to act out their life. The premise of the film is not a love affair between three teenagers but rather a love of film by all three, so much so that the brother and sister portion of the group do not really exist unless they have seen it in film. The brother sister duo do not really even understand or consider themselves part of the outside world, so much so that they have not even dated anyone or been around anyone but their parents and each other. This plot was genius and well-conceived—a definite highlight of this film.

        However, the end was bad as it ended quite abruptly with no true conclusion. Yet the movie itself speaks wonders not only for its use of classic films to tell a story, but also for its strong story of teenage angst and its political views on war and democracy as expressed by the main characters in the middle of the time of turmoil in France. Ignore the rating and rent this film.

Jonathan Holzapfel

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