Sunday, February 22, 2004

The Dreamers (IMDB) (Netflix)
From Bernardo Bertolucci, whose cinematic credentials are pretty much unimpeachable (The Last Emperor, 1900, The Conformist), as is his ability to create controversial films (Last Tango in Paris). It's 1968, in Paris, where the lefties have decided that everyone else is a fascist and challenging social conventions is a moral imperative. An American exchange student (Michael Pitt) meets up with a brother (Louis Garrel) and twin sister (Eva Green), who befriend him, and — before their parents can say "Don't have any wild parties while we're on holiday" — invite him to stay over. Three hormonally flooded teenagers, including siblings who are a bit closer than is decent, and revolution in the air— it's a heady, dangerous mix.

And a polarizing one for the critics, apparently. Put me on the unenchanted side. Green's physical charms are considerable and almost continously on display, and the guys are equally unencumbered throughout the film. Garrel and Green have that special twin thing going, they're precocious, willful teenagers, and on top of that, they're Parisians; it's all a bit much, or at least silly. Maybe that was what Bertolucci was going for (I doubt it), but it doesn't make the characters particularly sympathetic. You'll go for the sex, you'll stay for ... more sex.