Friday, March 8, 2013


Directed By: Bernardo Bertolucci
Written By: Gilbert Adair
Based On The Book By: Gilbert Adair
Cinematography By: Fabio Cianchetti
Editor: Jacopo Quedli

Cast: Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel, Anna Chancellor
Paris, spring 1968. While most students take the lead in the May 'revolution', a French poet's twin son Theo and daughter Isabelle enjoy the good life in his grand Paris home. As film buffs they meet and 'adopt' modest, conservatively educated Californian student Matthew. With their parents away for a month, they drag him into an orgy of indulgence of all senses, losing all of his and the last of their innocence. A sexual threesome shakes their rapport, yet only the outside reality will break it up. --While the film is supposed to dramatize a period in French history and a cinematic revolution in France. That is only the backdrop for a more intimate story at the forefront.

This film is like a Playboy magazine. There is a lot of intellectualism, but you use it and come and endure it only to get to the nudity and sex. Which is on display quite a lot in this film.

Director Bernardo Bertolucci was so impressed how the actors so naturally acted naked, he penned an uncredited lengthy extra scene in the script where all three main actors are overtly nude. It ended up on the cutting room floor.

The film is almost a wet dream for teenagers because it envisions all of what they think a art movie is all about. Hot nude French girls who have sec a lot. It also is the wet dram fantasy of any young European male traveler. You go to a movie get picked up by a hot French girl who smokes talks passionately about movies and wants to have sex all of the time. Then when you take her out on a date all she really wants to do is go back home and have sex with you.

The film Chronicles the student riots of ‘68 but the main draw here is the explicit sex scenes. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the sexual nature of the film, but it seems to be what takes over so that while certain points are made and drama comes out. The audience has been so conditioned by what they have seen so far. That it is way too late to make statements and implore messages and themes as it comes off s filler to keep the action going.

I enjoyed not only the carnal passion but the passion the characters had for cinema. The director is no stranger to eroticism. The film works more as eroticism though I wonder if Bernardo Bertolucci felt like he was actually delivering a message in the film. As sexuality is more the norm in Europe. Trying to get the audience to come for the sex while delivering its message subtly. The film feels like it is trying to say something, but doesn’t know exactly what to say. Almost as if he felt by letting the story play. A theme would take place or let the audience find their own.

I have to be truthful the main reason I went to see this film is for the acting debut of the screen godess Eva Green. Which the film can only help but cement. The film even in it’s sly way hints at this by having her pose nude like Venus DeMilo in a scene. She makes a dynamite film debut and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her whenever she is on the screen for all the right reasons. She displays innocence, but seems to let out her inner seductress who is always in control of the man she is with. Almost like a deadly spider who lures you into her web and then devours you.

The film is shot beautifully but with all the attention to details the film feels more shot like an epic then rather it’s intimate story. Like the director devised a grander tale, but could only get funding for a smaller one. It might just be the way he shoots films and tells stories as Mr. Bertolucci’s grandest successes have been small intimate stories in the middle of grand backgrounds and historical events. Imagine his version of LINCOLN had he made it. I’m sure it would have been more controversial and sexy.

This film is a nice introduction to his oeuvre, but feels like a warmed over version of his past films.

Jake Gyllenhaal was initially considered for the role of Matthew but turned it down because of the explicit nature of the nude scenes.

Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Matthew, but turned it down because he was in pre-production with The Aviator

Dominic Cooper was considered for the role of Matthew.

I am happy the incestuous relationship between her and her brother is more suggested then shown. I am also happy actor Michael Pitt played his character as normal and straight laced instead of some of the freaky acting tics he has used in past roles.

There were scenes in the script depicting much more blatant sexual relations between the characters of Matthew and Theo, but they were not filmed. Director Bertolucci said, "The gay sex was in the first script, but I had a feeling that it was just too much stuff. It became redundant." Actor Pitt said in interview, "It was in the script and it's what I'd signed to do. But they said we weren't going to do that."

The film isn’t bad but I do think the film is overrated in many critics circles. It is more because of the reputation and past glories of director Bernardo Bertolucci the many masterpieces he has made in the past have made critics fall in love with cinema so here i feel they might have given him a past and seen glimpses of past glories in some of his shots. That is at least a theory or maybe since this is his first film in quite awhile they over praise it. As it was better than his last few efforts such as LITTLE BUDDHA and STEALING BEAUTY. He is never one to shy away from sex in all it’s beauty and little ugliness. It shockingly lacks the atmosphere, openness, grand sights and landscapes that his films are usually filled with. We know he is trying to convey the schizophrenic nature and claustrophobia of the characters to hide themselves from the world and function as intimate family. Though once they go out it would be nice to see how the outside world is like a wilderness to them.

Whole bertulucci makes everything look so beautiful and cinematic. It feels like the sort lacks or never quite supports the visuals or are as strong as they are. The scenes are shot so sumptuous they look delicious.

The film births a new screen goddess in Eva green looking statuesque in many scenes and a iconish sex symbol In others.

It's a shame for all the promise michael pitt tries to show in many of his roles. Here his attempts at angst come off more as bland. It may have been by design for this particular film as he plays the sloppy American in cultured wild France. Though in some aspects I believe the script leaves him this way and lets him down by stranding him.

The film I explicit and I am glad the sex scenes or more sexual exploration scenes are more experimental between Michael Pitt and Eva green. Including a graphic virginity taking scene.

The film showcases both their bodies and make them beautiful lustful like pieces of art but also not afraid to show the flaws to remind us they are human and can be beautiful and disgusting at the same time.

The way the film was advertised was that it would be more a free for all bisexual incestual type film pushing boundaries. I am glad it didn't go that route and is a bit more classy. Of it was more unhinged the film would be more distracting then serving it's tale.

I with there were more scenes with the chargers talking about cinema for a film like this where the main characters are film lovers. The film seems more concerned about the lovers part. I guess exploring something different and the only thing that can keep them from the cinema.

The film is auto-biographical for the Director while containing a message but it's a film I found myself forcing me to like then actually liking. Maybe it's just that I had such high hopes for the film and it failed to reach my expectations.

The I'm gets slow at times as it introduces you to the time period a bit of the politics and the world these characters create and inhabit. The film eventually feels rewarding once you watch the whole film. It's like finishing a book. You feel proud and happy to visit with some memories stuck in your head. Though you were never really there.

By the end I the film you feel pleasure from the enrichment of the film which makes you feel like you are immersed in the settings.

Bertolucci proves to be a true auteur and one of the last true epic filmmakers. When you think of the films he has made you can only think he has always made films with passion and close to his heart. Never just for money or popularity. He always makes films that seem to push boundaries. You can’t see him directing a run of the mill studio film like KISS THE GIRLS or PRIMAL FEAR, though I would love to see his versions. He is a grand director who feels like he could have made this better. It almost feels like something is off.

First film since Orgazmo that was released theatrically in the US with a NC-17 rating. Even with its NC-17 rating, major theater circuits like Regal and AMC agreed to show this film.


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