Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Cast: Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel
The Dreamers is a 2003 Italian movie, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci an Italian filmmaker who, I’m sure you heard, recently passed away. This is a sad week for cinema. The death of Bernardo Bertolucci broke my heart and made me think of one thing: The Dreamers. I still remember how I felt while watching this movie. I was smiling like I never smiled before! The minute I saw it, that was it, I got obsessed. It’s like this cycle all cinephiles go through; you watch hundreds of movies hoping to stumble upon a classic, and when you do find that classic, oh man! You start recommending it to all your friends, you search for an opportunity to squeeze it in a conversation, it’s basically what’s on your mind till you find another classic!
The Dreamers is like the safe haven for every cinephile! It discusses politics, books, love, art, sex in the most poetic way there is! It creates this utopia we all dream about. For me, this movie changed a lot of perspectives, the script is so intellectual it’s like feeding your hunger for knowledge. The three characters met at a protest for the cinematheque, moved in together, they’d be reading while listening to Janis Joplin, re-acting scenes from films was their game, so liberal, the sky, isn’t even their limit! Just imagine three cinephiles in one house, imagine the conversations they have, they weren’t just cinema enthusiasts, Cinema was basically their life! Didn’t you get a bit jealous? Cause I did! They created their own little universe, their wonderland. “Books, not guns. Culture, not violence”, is probably the most famous movie quote there is! And when you hear it or read it somewhere, John Lennon’s song “Imagine” will be stuck in your head and I don’t mean that it will be going on and on, this song will stay in your head and haunt you and will make you face the fact that the world will never be a Beatles song or a scene from The Dreamers. Hard to face, right? At least for me.
What makes this movie, a masterpiece is all the references from the most classical movies there is in history of cinema; for example, Isabelle (Eva Green) screams “New York Herald Tribune”, a reference to the French New Wave movie “Breathless” in which Patricia yells the same thing, and as if it wasn’t clear enough, this particular scene from “Breathless” is shown. Another example, that happens to be my personal favorite, the scene where Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel) convince Matthew (Michael Pitt) to run through the Louvre, aiming to break the record of Franz, Odile and Arthur in the movie “Bande à Part” which was nine minutes and 43 seconds. And it doesn’t end here! When they do break the record, Theo and Isabelle start repeating “We accept him, one of us”, the same line repeated in “Freaks” at the wedding reception. Bertolucci beautifully gathered a scene or two, from every classic, and added the actual scenes. If you ever thought of what might come out, if you mix a bunch of classics, I think you don’t have to wonder anymore because Bertolucci did that, it turned out to be a masterpiece, a classic of its own.
If we want to get technical, hats off to every single scene, whether it was the cinematography, the directing, the script, the music but my personal favorite; the acting! They don’t let you feel the acting, it’s like the camera is following three characters around day by day, and even though scenes from other movies keep showing, you don’t get distracted from the feeling this movie gives you! It’s so dream like you don’t want it to end, you suddenly feel that you’re with them, sharing their experiences.
What I really want to discuss with you guys, is the ending; a brick smashed their window, it’s then that the three characters realize that a protest is happening in favor of a cause they’ve been supporting since scene one. It’s as if the brick bursted their bubble, woke them up, and made them realize that the right way to win back Henri Langlois for the cinematheque isn’t books, nor is it culture, it is protest! Mathew didn’t quite agree with the violence so he watched the two disappear into the protestors. And it makes you think, is peace only reachable by violence? Are culture, books, arts, useless when it comes to moving forward or are they the reason behind every changed perspective or in “The Dreamers” case, behind every protest, behind every act of violence!