The Dreamers Bernardo Bertolucci

The Dreamers Bernardo Bertolucci
The Dreamers, Bernardo Bertolucci's latest project, begins with such exuberance you think, "if a camera can feel elation, this one is." Things continue that way for a while and there's a current running through the picture that feels like the director is a prize winner with a shopping cart and has ten minutes to fill it with references to movies, music, art and literature. He goes wild. The result could be contagious euphoria, but on top of his own interests in paying homage to cinema, he is filming a novel, one written and adapted by Gilbert Adair. Paris, 1968, Matthew (Michael Pitt), a young American cineaste meets his first French friends at a demonstration outside the Cinematheque. Isabelle (Eva Green) and twin Theo (Louis Garrel) soon invite him home and then to stay for a month while their parents are away. When the cat's away the mice will play and play they do — some charming games as well as some rather peculiar ones. The cupid-faced Matthew is besotted by Isabelle and seduced by all the sensual and intellectual stimulation of a continental bohemian intellectual ménage. Outside the student riots rage; inside the threesome perfect the rules for film buffs. Their tragicomic escapades are sprinkled with film dust, flash frames of Garbo, Dietrich and Chaplin. The story has layers, symbols and more layers that the camera coaxes out of the decorative chaos. It's a betrayal when the voiceover of an older Matthew imposes order like an officious camp councillor. He has progressed from naive to "savant," sensing the trap into which he has been lured, but his dominance as narrator inflicts a moralising wound on the cinematic dreaminess. The prose should have been left behind. As it is there are several movies here and a couple of them are good. (Fox Searchlight)