Pale Wire (Popscene)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


I went to see Bernardo Bertolucci's latest film, The Dreamers, at the 3 Penny's 9 o'clock show. It's a languorous character study about a young American (Michael Pitt) studying abroad in France who is seduced by an odd brother & sister (Louis Garrel & Eva Green) and enveloped in their weird life.

Though the student riots of the 1967-68 rage outside in the streets, the threesome live a decadent life sequestered inside the Paris apartment belonging to the twin’s parents. A shared passion for film sparked things off between them and continues to provide the thrust as they develop a startling (and perhaps perverse) intimacy that is so dependent on their isolation that it becomes not a question of if the bubble will burst, but when.

Eventually, of course, the inexorable mechanisms of social reality do impose themselves and each is forced to deal with the world and their own place in it. Hands are forced. The fragility of intimacy is exposed. Boobies and testicles see the light of day. Bob Dylan longs for his Queen Jane. Ben wishes he were a pretty French boy with dark eyes and a sad smile. Jackboots and teargas. The credits roll.

I can't say I took anyway any salient lesson and I can't say I detected any distinct message but I can say that I enjoyed every frame (even the testicles) and found the whole thing to be engaging, energetic and....dare I say...erotic. I wonder how this film was received in France, where the rebellious generation depicted (commonly known as the '68ers') are now in power. A look at the survey over at Rotten shows that the critical response here in America has been mixed.