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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Bernardo Bertolucci ticked off a lot of die-hard Baby-Boomers & Left-leaning romantics with his non-political ‘take’ on the youth culture & social demonstrations that morphed into the Paris street riots of 1968. The man who made BEFORE THE REVOLUTION/’64, is too wised-up to buy into the ‘dreams’ of middle-class student revolutionaries, but not too jaded to appreciate the cultural & psychological aspects of rebellion. Especially when a pair of nubile twins (near incestuous brother & sister) and a naïf beach-boy blond American are isolated in a maze-like apartment. They play sexual truth-or-dare games based on obscure film facts and find themselves emotionally in over their heads. They’ll need a revolution to get out of this mess . . . and damned if they don’t get one! Or the semblance of one. It’s all too Henry James, but with films memorized at the Cinémathèque taking the place of objets d’art and a topsy-turvy innocence factor to keep you guessing. With his mastery of fluid staging, Bertolucci works technical wonders thru-out and cleverly references classic film clips to show life lived as reflection. (A dash thru the Louvre is a particular wonder).* As the American, Michael Pitt can’t quite hold his own against Louis Garrel or Eva Green's naughty duo (with backsides to die for). Listen up for a priceless discussion of Pitt’s inadequate nose. All told, it’s the most entertaining film Bertolucci has made in years, and if it’s not the deep-think piece on 1968 a lot of reviewers seemed to have wanted; well, too bad.

*Bertolucci pointedly avoids referencing the Melville-Cocteau/ LES ENFANTS TERRIBLE/’48. Perhaps it's too close for comfort.

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