BY VANESSA MILLER
Daily Arts Writer
Published March 9, 2004
There is an intimate connection between a film and its audience.
Few filmmakers manage to take advantage of the emotional attachment
between the characters and the viewer. Italian director Bernardo
Bertolucci has this talent.
“The Dreamers,” a new film by Bertolucci, weaves
together a tale connecting three primordial needs: film, music and
sex. Known for his sexually provocative nature in such films as
“Last Tango in Paris,” Bertolucci creates a new
playground within the world of college students, bringing together
filmic debates and unleashed sexual passion onto the same
“The Dreamers” centers on Matthew (Michael Pitt,
“Murder by Numbers”), an American student in Paris who
meets Parisian twins, Isabelle and Theo, while worshipping at the
Cinémathèque Française as the 1968 riots begin
to take over the city. Newcomers Eva Green and Louis Garrel play
Isabelle and Theo, whose incestuous nature captivates Matthew,
letting him consume a world full of new ideas and experiences.
Considered controversial for its abundance of full-frontal
nudity, “The Dreamers” embraces its NC-17 rating by
allowing the audience not to see it as a cheap gimmick, but rather
as an expression of the characters as they rebel against the
constraints of society.
Music drives the trio through the film, allowing for the subtle
plot to come alive. In most movies, the film dictates the music. In
“The Dreamers,” however, all the music is from the late
’60s, long before the film was born. Music becomes a separate
entity that is vividly portrayed in each character. This is
highlighted when Pitt sings his own version of Jimi Hendrix’s
“Hey Joe” in the film and soundtrack.
Pitt utilizes his large eyes and uncanny Leonardo DiCaprio-like
appeal to transform from the uptight American into a sex god
trapped away from reality. His soft-spoken character allows him to
seem innocent, especially compared to the alluring Green and Garrel
who ooze inhabited desire, definitely kicking their careers into
Bertolucci creates a reflection of ourselves, a timeless reality
showing us how we are all dreamers, no matter what music hums in
our ears and which riots surround us.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars