Only the French would house a cinema inside of a palace…

1. The Dreamers, 2003

2. Written by: Gilbert Adair – Directed by: Bernando Bertolucci – Produced by: Jeremy Thomas – Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

3. Intrigued by Bertolucci, in general, as well as the soundtrack to the film, I first viewed The Dreamers after renting the DVD on a whim. What a wonderful decision.

4. Target Audience: While English is the primary language spoken in the film, there is also a great deal of French, as the story takes place in France, during the 1960’s. The Dreamers is appealing to those interested in 60’s/French culture as well as those who are interested in foreign cinema. Additionally, the film rings true to typical Bertolucci fashion in the sense that it deals, explicitly, with sexual themes and was released in two formats, one being an unrated version, the other with a rating of NC-17. Lastly, the film is extremely appealing to someone who is interested in cinema history as it makes frequent references to the great films of the past.

5. Categorized as a French/British/Italian drama, The Dreamers was distributed, in the states, by Fox Searchlight Pictures, a film division of 20th Century Fox specializing in independent and British films. The film is based on the novel “The Holy Innocents,” by Gilbert Adair, whom also wrote the screenplay for the film… However, Burtolucci, ever the auteur, maintained artistic control of the picture, going so far as to insist changes be made to the screenplay during pre-production.

6. Film Description: Set to the backdrop of the tumultuous political landscape of Paris in 1968, The Dreamers tells the story of Matthew (an American), Theo and Isabelle (French twins), self-identified cinephiles, who are drawn together through their passion for film. With their parents gone for a month, Theo and Isabelle welcome Matthew into their hearts and home, dragging him into an orgy of indulgence, bringing an end to not only their innocence, but also his own. Trapped inside of their self-created, dream-like wonder, they explore their sexuality, emotions and sense of self, only waking from their dream when the reality of the revolution forces itself upon their daily lives.

7. Technical Considerations: Visually, The Dreamers is stunning. The backdrop of Paris, alone, is beautiful, but going beyond that, Bertolucci pays close attention to every fine detail, placing the audience right into the dream world the characters have created for themselves. Furthermore, Bertolucci pays homage to the great films of the past by not only re-enacting classic film scenes with his characters, but by also using actual footage from said movies, creating a grand tour through cinema history.

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