Parma, 1962. Balancing between his Marxist ideology and his forced integration into the system, the twenty-year-old student, Fabrizio, is both repelled and attracted by his parents' bourgeois way of life. Still unable to come to terms with the untimely demise of a dear friend, and while preparing for his marriage to his statuesque and affluent but apolitical girlfriend, Clelia, Fabrizio finds himself distracted after the sudden arrival of the refined but troubled Milanese Aunt Gina. Now, confused, Fabrizio has no other choice but to give in to lust. Will Fabrizio embrace fate and his predestined ordinary life?Written by
The title comes from a quote by 18th century French politician 'Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord' who said that those living before the revolution are the only ones to appreciate the full benefits of liberty. See more »
Is it immoral for a nephew and aunt to have an affair? ...who cares? - the question is barely raised. This is the Italian New Wave, a cineaste's dream; forget the story, for style is everything.
Bertolucci's second film, at age 22, still owes a lot to his mentor Pasolini, but now he has taken on board Godard of "A Woman is a Woman" and Truffaut of "Jules and Jim". It's hopelessly overloaded with style but that makes it fascinating to watch. You never know what the camera is going to do next. A long monologue by Adrianna Asti contains so many zooms, pans, cross-cuts, reverse shots, asymmetrical framing, you name it - it's insane. You stop listening to what she is saying and just wonder what on earth Bertolucci is playing at. Playing at making movies I suppose.
It's all fairly aimless but is beautifully shot and the script is quite fine. Asti seems natural as the fragile aunt and Bertolucci makes the most of her - there are moments when she's nudging Audrey Hepburn. There's plenty of gay subtext - a notable feature of many Bertolucci films, for anyone apt to enquire into such things - it certainly assists interpretation.
Hardly juvenilia; if you're in the mood, this is a near masterpiece.
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