The other night, Mrs. Blahg was flipping channels and stopped at Casino Royale, the 2006 Bond reboot starring Daniel Craig and Eva Green. This was immediately a favorite film for us we are both Bond fans and after having seen Layer Cake, Craig fans as well. But it was Eva Green that left me rather gob smacked and it is an Eva Green film that I am choosing for this weeks DVD of the Week Bernardo Bertoluccis 2003 film, The Dreamers.
Best known for Last Tango in Paris and the Academy Award winning The Last Emperor, Bertolucci is not shy when it comes to depicting sex and sensuality on the screen. All one has to do is say the words butter and Brando to make that point. The Dreamers takes his exploration of sexuality into all new realms.
Starring the aforementioned Eva Green and Louis Garrel as twins Isabelle and Theo, during the spring of 1968 in Paris, immediately prior to the student riots there, they meet an American exchange student, Matthew (Michael Pitt looking a lot like a young Leonardo DiCaprio who was meant to play Matthew but was working on The Aviator at the time). The three of them share a love of film and eventually, more.
Yes this is an NC-17 movie. There are quite a few very frank scenes of masturbation, brother-sister relations and multiple partnerships and for as much as this is, and very much becomes the focus of the film the friendships and the problems that arise from such situations it is the films particular celebrations of film itself that I found most rewarding (ok I must admit to being quite fond of a nude Eva Green she really is remarkably stunning woman).
The film portrays our young cineastes reenacting various scenes from classic movies while interspersing the actual scenes themselves. Not only does it become homage to the classics, it highlights the spirit of the fun and exciting adventures these young people have set out on. One particular scene has Green wearing long black gloves in front of a black background, giving her the appearance of being the Venus de Milo. A very novel approach, and one that allows this film to stand out as something other than a movie about sex.
This is not a perfect movie but the expert film making more than makes up for its flaws. Also, not my favorite Bertolucci film, that would be the four hour version of The Last Emperor (available on Criterion I cannot recommend that film enough) but The Dreamers is a wonderful escape into a story that will have you laughing, titillated and at various times very, very uncomfortable. If you were to either rent it, buy it or stream it make sure you get the unedited version. Im unsure of what was cut out for the R rated version but Im sure something would be lost in translation. Hope you enjoy.
Ooh la la,
Cornelius J. Blahg