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The Dreamers (2003)

NC-17 | | Drama, Romance | 20 February 2004 (USA)
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A young American studying in Paris in 1968 strikes up a friendship with a French brother and sister. Set against the background of the '68 Paris student riots.

Writers:

Gilbert Adair (screenplay), Gilbert Adair (based on the novel)
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980 ( 82)
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Pitt ... Matthew
Eva Green ... Isabelle / Sister
Louis Garrel ... Theo / Brother
Anna Chancellor ... Mother
Robin Renucci ... Father
Jean-Pierre Kalfon ... Himself
Jean-Pierre Léaud ... Himself (as Jean-Paul Leaud)
Florian Cadiou ... Patrick
Pierre Hancisse Pierre Hancisse ... First Buff
Valentin Merlet Valentin Merlet ... Second Buff
Lola Peploe Lola Peploe ... The Usherette
Ingy Fillion Ingy Fillion ... Theo's Girlfriend
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Storyline

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. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the Director of 'Last Tango in Paris' and 'Stealing Beauty' See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | Italy

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

20 February 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Innocents See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$142,632, 8 February 2004

Gross USA:

$2,532,228

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,121,165
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Matthew, but turned it down because he was in pre-production with The Aviator (2004). Michael Pitt, who bears considerable resemblance to DiCaprio, was cast in his place. See more »

Goofs

On the walk along the canal, Isabelle states that she "...entered this world on the Champs-Elysees, 1959." She is obviously much older than 9, but she is not referring to her actual birth. She is reciting a speech from Breathless, whose clips are shown. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Matthew: The first time I saw a movie at the cinématèque française I thought, "Only the French... only the French would house a cinema inside a palace."
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Crazy Credits

A Carbonneutral production through Future Forests. Indigenous trees have been planted to balance the carbon dioxide created through the production of this film. See more »

Alternate Versions

US R-rated version runs ca. 3 minutes shorter than the uncut NC-17-rated version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inception (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Me Please Love Me
(1966)
Music by Michel Polnareff
Lyrics by Michel Polnareff & Franck Gérald (as Frank Gerald)
Published by Ma Music & Semi
Performed by Michel Polnareff
(p) Semi-Meridian Under License to Universal Music (UK) Limited
Special Thanks to Universal Music Special Projects France
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Sex, Cinema, Politics - A True Molotov Cocktail
20 July 2004 | by Alex_52See all my reviews

The decor for The Dreamers, Bertolucci's sensual and narcotic film is represented by effervescent moments that took place in Paris in 1968. In the same manner in which the house inhabited by the three main protagonists represents a character, so do the Parisian streets, with their trepidation and demonstrations. Contrary to other films directed by this director - who has promised much and delivered even more throughout his career - The Dreamers opens in a fast-paced and provocative manner. The director establishes the cinematic convention precisely, eloquently, and elegantly. It becomes clear that the film deals with furious and beautiful young people who live through the films they devour. In the first five minutes, the heroine of the picture (played impeccably by Eva Green, a theatre actress reminiscent of Isabella Rossellini) announces that she was born in 1959. Logically, it is impossible, seeing that the year is 1968 and she seems to be at least 19 years old. Therefore, she explains further: 1959, Champs-Elysee, where she yelled "New York Herald Tribune!" Suddenly the film cuts to a scene from the classic Breathless (A bout de soufflé) by Godard, where Belmondo's feminine partner sells American newspapers on Champs-Elysee. Consequently, Bertolucci's feminine character believes that she has not been alive until seeing the afore-mentioned film, considered by many the beginning of the New Wave. The idea of interposing images and references to classic films is augmented in The Dreamers. It becomes a means of communication between the characters and in fact it ignites the entire "action" of the film.

As in The Last Tango in Paris or Stealing Beauty, sex and sensuality also represent means of expression on which the director relies heavily. Yet The Dreamers rejects the desperation of The Last Tango through a seductive irreverence that indeed characterizes the so-called "enfants terrible" of 1968 Paris. It should be noted that The Dreamers contains various sexual and nude scenes, but that these are by no means as shocking as the sex scenes in The Last Tango were, when that film was released in the 1960s. Since then, video and Internet pornography have occurred and shocking audiences through nudity has become something of a moot point. It is only the MPAA that hasn't grown up. It gave The Dreamers basically the same rating that The Last Tango got, 30 years ago.

Undoubtedly, the angles of the shots in The Dreamers are what impresses the most. As in other films by Bertolucci, practically every shot could be cut out and studied hours at an end for its elegance. The three main characters (all played beyond reproach) live their menage-a-trois through concrete gestures and attitudes, as well as through emotions that are suggested by the sublime cinematography.

The ending of the film, considered by some critics a weak point, is in fact quite accomplished. American viewers (including some critics) are used to American films, in which the build-up leading to the climax is essentially dynamic, suspenseful or tragic. But the European cinema is different. It often shows how feelings are condensed in a quiet but explosive mixture. This description fits The Dreamers like a glove.

Finally, a note for film buffs. In the initial scenes, at the demonstration in front of the Cinematheque, Bertolucci used news reel footage from the '60s with Jean-Pierre Leaud si Jean-Pierre Kalfon (known actors of the New Wave). They are seen giving speeches and throwing paper leaflets to the crowd. In 2003, when shooting the film, Bertolucci got Leaud and Kalfon, now aged, to "reenact" the images from the news reels. The end result is a mixture of new and old images, the former in color, the latter black and white. It is such tricks that Bertolucci uses throughout this nostalgic film that celebrates a certain period, during which the young generation had more meaningful things to fight than computer-simulated monsters.


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