Movie review

Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci’s new film, “The Dreamers,” is an amazing film that every generation of moviegoer and political activist can enjoy and learn from. This world-renowned director combines intense interpersonal relations with contemporary and urgent political themes.

It would be easy to just review the political aspects of Bertolucci’s take on the Paris Summer of 1968 and the uprising of students and workers. Although we live in different times, the film’s arguments and discussions are contemporary.

In interviews, the director draws attention to the current World Trade Organization demonstrations, starting with Seattle as one reason for his film. We can apply this also to the upcoming Republican National Convention in New York City this August.

The intense discussions of the three young characters on film, culture and politics include, for example, Buster Keaton vs. Charlie Chaplin, Eric Clapton vs. Jimi Hendricks, and Molotov cocktails or a peaceful demonstration.

The discussions between the two men on the Vietnam War is particularly poignant. Pratt, clearly a draft evader from San Diego going to school in Paris, defends the soldiers – “They were drafted and really are powerless” – while the French student accuses them of murder.

The film not only portrays the 1960s, but also previous generations through its flashbacks of old movies and music, which are skillfully interwoven.

Although Bertolucci’s films are usually in Italian with subtitles, “The Dreamers” is mostly in English. Don’t miss this movie. It is being heralded as Bertolucci’s best movie in years, if not his best ever.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org.

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