The Dreamers (2003)
"They believe they have the power no only to
provoke the world, but to transform it"
- The twins' father in "The Dreamers"
This film takes place in the early months of 1968, when 19 year
olds across the world were starting to feel that they were more than
merely provocative. On March 31, 1968, the most powerful man on the
planet, Lyndon Johnson, capitulated to the reality of the times, and
announced he would not run for re-election. It was an astounding
victory for grassroots protest. The year of 1968 is more than just
the setting for The Dreamers. It is a character.
A young Southern Californian is studying in France at that time,
ostensibly to do the perfunctory "year abroad" for language
students, but once there he decides to watch as many great films as
possible. Night after night, he sits in the front row
for the free screenings at the Musée du Cinéma
inside the Palais de Chaillot. He and his fellow Cinephiles
are mesmerized by everything from silent films to the French New
Wave. The world of politics is far from his mind, but politics and
the cinema will soon merge into a single issue when De Gaulle's
government turned their attention to the movie world.
The creator of the Musée du Cinéma was the
legendary Henri Langlois, who had created the Cinémathèque Française
in 1936, and in so doing managed to rescue hundreds, perhaps
thousands, of films from oblivion. He later managed to preserve
France's cinematic heritage through the darkest days of the German
occupation. Still later, his dedication to film is credited with a
key role in giving birth to the Nouvelle Vague movement which
transformed film in every developed country in the 60s and 70s by
popularizing the concept of the "auteur" director. For all of his
dedication and contributions to the culture of France and the world
of cinema in general, Langlois was ousted from his own Cinémathèque
in February 1968 by the De Gaulle government. This provoked the
cineastes, who took to the streets in protest during a time when
student protests were starting to shake the globe. The February
Cinémathèque protest turned out to be mere kindling for a later
conflagration, but its success, and the Lyndon Johnson resignation a
month later, convinced student protestors worldwide that their
actions were effective, and those successes emboldened them further,
igniting the massive student protests and general strikes that
virtually shut Paris down in May of 1968.
In that first tentative demonstration over the Langlois ouster,
the innocent American cinephile, the first dreamer in out story, is
nearly swept away in a battle between protesting students and riot
police, but is rescued by two French siblings. The American quickly
befriends both the brother and the sister, so when the twins'
parents disappear from Paris on business, the three of them turn the
family's Parisian apartment into kind of mini-commune and fill their
time with long, stoned discussions about movies and politics and, of
course, sex. Those three topics are the real meat of The Dreamers,
and it is not by accident that a noteworthy documentary about the
making of this film is called "Cinema, Sex, Politics." It is not
long before the dreamers' discussions of these three subjects start
to transmogrify into practical experience. The first subject to move
from the theoretical plane to the pragmatic is sex. Once that is out
of the way, political discussions start to turn into reality as the
French siblings join the student protests. At this point, the
American turns his back on them, and that more or less ends the
So what about the third subject? Cinema? Is there no sense of
Well, that took a little longer to move to the practical plane.
About 35 years. I assume that Bertolucci's film is somewhat
autobiographical, and in that sense, the characters' discussions
about films did leave the world of theory to become a film. This
It is the most recent in a four decade career which has merited
many high honors. He was been nominated for four Oscars, two for
direction and two for writing, encompassing three different films.
He won in both categories for The Last Emperor. His list of credits
- (7.69) -
The Last Emperor (1987)
- (7.65) -
Conformista, Il (1970)
- (7.48) -
- (7.09) -
The Dreamers (2003)
- (6.89) -
Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)
- (6.86) -
Prima della rivoluzione (1964)
- (6.81) -
Strategia del ragno, La (1970)
- (6.68) -
- (6.53) -
Commare secca, La (1962)
- (6.40) -
The Sheltering Sky (1990)
- (6.31) -
Luna, La (1979)
- (6.26) -
Tragedia di un uomo ridicolo, La (1981)
- (6.20) -
Stealing Beauty (1996)
- (6.03) -
Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (2002)
- (5.66) -
- (5.62) -
Little Buddha (1993)
Despite Bertolucci's genius, I've often been ambivalent about his
work, and this film illustrates why. In its best moments, it is
marvelous, demonstrating a complete command of camera movement,
composition, and lighting to illustrate some fascinating ideas, and
to bring the viewer deep inside its world. When it works, it bathes
me in its glow. At its worst, it seems tedious, with scenes that
either have no point or drag on long after the point has been made.
And I feel that way despite the fact that I was there. These are
my memories he's stirring. I am exactly the same age as the film's
three characters, I was caught in the turmoil of student activism
and the cultural revolution, and I was also a film buff. If this
film does not grab me and hold me completely, it may be far less
compelling for you because The Dreamers immerses itself so deeply
into the arcana of 1968 and the mystique of pre-1968 movies that it
virtually excludes anyone who wasn't there and doesn't care a fig
for Godard or the Keaton-Chaplin debate.
I've reacted with a feeling of unfulfilled love to a Bertolucci
film before: Last Tango in Paris. I've watched that film several
times because there are some things in it that I really enjoy seeing
again and again, and I don't just mean the female flesh. It has some
brilliant moments that linger in the memory, that draw me back to
the film. Yet when the film is over, I never feel that great
satisfaction that comes from having watched a great, well-loved
movie. Similarly, I believe that I will probably return to The
Dreamers at least once more. I will watch how Bertolucci uses his
cinephile characters to recreate scenes from older movies made by
Godard and others. I will wonder how he got the camera to move in a
certain way, and admire his lighting effects. I will enjoy Eva
Green's flesh and the freshness that the three kids brought to the
lead roles. I will admire Bertolucci's daring and share his
nostalgia for 1968.
And I believe that I will feel unrewarded when it is over.
The Dreamers is like good sex without a climax. Mind you, good
sex without a climax is still better than just about any other human
activity, but after all that teasing, all that delicious foreplay,
all that wild pumping, one feels owed a climax, and Bertolucci
couldn't deliver the goods.
- Eva Green thumbnails (1,
- Eva Green collages (1,
- Eva Green film clips (Not mine. Garnered from USENET, and in a
couple of cases reversed, but very useful because they have been
brightened.) By the way, they are also huge files! (clip #1 (14 megs),
clip #2 (6 megs),
clip #3 (9 megs),
clip #4 (19 megs),
clip #5 (22 megs),
clip #6 (11 megs))
- So a rabbi walks into a bar with a talking mongoose on his
The New York Times writes an obituary for "The Joke".
No, seriously. Very seriously. All kidding aside.
- By the way, the punchline is ... "and at these prices, you
won't get many more."
Young Dictators in Love. Not many people realize this,
but young messrs. Hitler and Mussolini once shared a swinging
Young Dictators in Love, part two. This episode
explains why Hitler hated Jews, and also why he had such a silly
- Washington Post Feature:
Watergate and the Two Lives of Mark Felt
FilmJerk's Early Report for June 19
"The complete soundtrack to Super Mario World, covered
by one man using dozens of instruments. Roughly in game order,
faithful to the originals, with some bizarre artistic license
thrown around. A private hobby made public."
Here's the trailer for Dorian Blues, a film about a gay
guy "coming out."
- The Caped Crusader couldn't save Hollywood, so they have to
turn to the box office magic of Jane Austen.
Here's the trailer for the Keira Knightley version of Pride and
Prejudice. Setting aside my cynicism for a minute, I
have to say that the photography is impressive, and Keira looks
adorable. The release date is late September.
George Bushisms linked from a flash animation. Some
were new to me. I loved number 21, in which the President says he
can improve the economy by removing the terriers! I always knew
those little rascals were communist infiltrators, especially those
Jack Russell Terriers. Jack Russell, my ass. Ivan Russki is more
Experimentation with photorealistic painting. It is
virtually indistinguishable from photography. In fact, the two are
indistinguishable unless the painter tells you about the areas he
needs to work on, as this guy did.
The Sexual Kung-Fu Institute
New Quantum model 'permits time travel'.
- They may be scientists, but I'm afraid these lads are
missing a few decimal points on their calculators.
- Here is a useful tool:
Strip and view images from any open directory or image board.
- That link goes to a sample of what it does, using the images
directory of the French naturism site listed below. The actual
URL for the tool itself is
Retro nudism galleries from France. Some of the
pictures in "humor" are pretty darned entertaining.
- Check out this ad:
Durex condoms say "Happy Father's Day"
EVEN SCIENTOLOGISTS CALL TOM CRUISE "TOO WEIRD"
- "Elsewhere, a new poll shows that less than half of all
Americans approve of the way Dick Cheney is handling President
Miss America Pageant: no date, no TV contract. Is it just a
stumbling block, or the end of an era?
Weekend Box Office - June 17-19, 2005 - Batman Begins Weakly.
- Despite Hollywood's best hopes to the contrary, moviegoers
treated the new Caped Crusader movie as just another good flick,
not an event. It did less than Brangelina did last weekend.
Despite many good reviews and some outright encomiums, its five
day total was about equal to the three day prediction. Warrior's
prediction may have been too optimistic, but in fact, Batman
Began about the same as Madagascar and The Longest Yard. Yikes!
- Batman Began with the lowest per screen revenues in the
history of the franchise. Batman Begins averaged $12.2k per
screen; Batman $18.5; Batman Returns $17.3; Batman Forever
$18.6; and even the much-reviled Batman and Robin, $14.6.
- The other new release, The Perfect Man, limped into seventh
place with box office performance to match its poor reviews.
- None of the holdovers really picked up the slack, although
Star Wars was two million above the Warrior's estimate. The lame
performance of the new entries left the top ten group an
alarming 15% below the prediction.
- The weekend was below last year for the 17th straight week
(tying the all-time record slump), and ticket sales for the year
are 9% below last year.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
The Perfect Man
Star Wars Episode III
The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl
The Longest Yard
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
- The reviews are finally in for
The Perfect Man.
- As I warned, the lack of pre-screening was a big red flag.
This film did not score the coveted 0% at RT, but it fought the
good fight and came in at 7%, which may make the year-end "worst
of" lists. It may even compete for worst of the war, but that
could be tough because Roberto Benigni is working on a new film
which may come out this year!
- Mr. Big earned some decent comments, but mostly in the
context of "is this script the best work he can get?"
- Roger Ebert made no attempt to soften his contempt: "The
Perfect Man takes its idiotic plot and uses it as the excuse for
scenes of awesome stupidity."
Bar of soap sells for $18,000 ... "a bar of soap
purportedly made from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's
fat, removed during liposuction."
- Mod Squad chick says:
Elvis Presley no King in bed!
An internet trailer for War of the Worlds
Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the
since it's sorta in real time.
to submit a URL for Other Crap
are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the
review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
- If there is a white asterisk, it means that
there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined
there might be something else of interest.
- A blue asterisk indicates the review is written
by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.