The Dreamers

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Screenwriters: Gilbert Adair

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Due to the mature content of this film, no one under 18 will be admitted.

Few filmmakers create work as fundamentally fueled by intellectual and philosophical inquiry as Bernardo Bertolucci, which makes venturing into his latest opus, The Dreamers, a distinctly fascinating voyage. With the upheaval in the streets of Paris in 1968 as the backdrop, a young American, Matthew (Michael Pitt), strikes up a friendship with a French brother and sister during a demonstration protesting the ouster of the French Cinémathèque founder. Smitten with the voluptuous beauty Isabelle (Eva Green), Matthew quickly gets caught up in a triangle of personal/sexual exploration and seduction, allowing Bertolucci to combine a steamily graphic and transgressive ménage à trois with an equally adversarial debate about culture, art, film, politics, and the personal. As the three engage in an incestuous tête-à-tête where cinema is their only link to politics, and film references and images become an expression of intimacy, they are isolated in a decadence that only the young and innocent can fully appreciate and explore. Eventually, however, their reveries shatter, and the world reenters.

Bertolucci is one of the few film artists for whom carnal desire, the process of creation, and class conflict hold equal interest. In The Dreamers, he spins a web which entrances and transports us into a realm where we can reevaluate the past and see the present in a new light.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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