In The Dreamers, director Bernardo Bertolucci creates a dream world of sexual experimentation beyond any limitations, of inconclusive political debates, and most importantly, movies.
The film sets in the middle of the 1968 riots in Paris, but follows the hedonistic story of three cinephiles who create their own Eden in their messy Parisian flat. Matthew (Michael Pitt), meets the unique twins Theo (Louis Garrel) and Isabelle (Eva Green) at the Cinémathèque Française. Their absolute love for cinema brings them together and Matthew enters the twins’ quixotic world as they invite him to stay with them while their parents are away.
The dreamers spend their days so carefree that it creates a huge contrast between where they inhabit and the heated political climate right outside their walls. The three constantly mimics scenes from movies and lives their lives as if in a movie, such as thinking Mao as a movie director. This might be confusing as their life actually is a movie. Failing to match the actual world to their dream world, they engage in endless debates and have no affect in creating political change. While the idea of movies in this sense seems inconsequential, it creates a self-reflexive irony within the film.
Together with the cinematic quotations, the film creates a beautiful setting in a romantic Parisian flat with dim candle lights, pillow fortresses, and effectively chosen music; presenting us the dream.
But living in the dream would kill them, literally. And what saves their lives by waking them up from their sleep is a rock thrown in the living room by a resistor from the riot on the street. The three then step outside their walls to take action.
I would like to restrain from an over-analysis of the film, which is one of my personal favorites, and invite the viewer to step out of their walls, leaving all norms behind, and to simply enter theirs.