Bernardo Bertolucci's “The Dreamers,” premiering in Geneva at the Smith Opera House this weekend, is a movie about sex and movies made by a filmmaker who understands the power of each to set off fantasy, create addiction, incite danger and transform the spirit. The film also touches on politics, but politics at a time when politics was also inseparable from fantasy — the spring of 1968, in Paris — a period of student protest and riots.
Three young cinephiles shut the door of their Paris apartment and barely leave it, creating an emotional and sexual psychodrama as the world outside beckons, threatens and influences their interaction. Bertolucci and screenwriter Gilbert Adair don't try to re-create the physical world of 1968 so much as the 1960s mind-set. It's all there, within those four walls: the idealism and the irrationality, the naïveté and the hostility, and the blithe assumption of personal rectitude, occasionally interrupted by a nagging sense of soul-corroding depravity.
“The Dreamers'' is rated NC-17 for full-frontal nudity (male and female) and convincingly simulated sex scenes. The sex begins with a couple of dares, and the movie progresses from there.
Michael Pitt plays Matthew, a young American who haunts the Paris Cinematheque. It's there that he meets Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel), twins and fellow film fanatics who admit him into their world. The three talk about films constantly, arguing about the relative merits of Chaplin and Keaton (Theo prefers Chaplin; Matthew, Keaton) and re-enacting moments from films they've seen.
The Smith Opera House screens “The Dreamers” at 7 p.m. June 4, 5, 7 and 8 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 6. In English and French, this film has a running time of 115 minutes. It is rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. All seats on Tuesday are $2. Call 315-781-5483 or toll-free 866-355-5483 for details or to pre-order tickets.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.