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Bernardo Bertolucci's first groundbreaking masterpiece? Indeed it's full of his visions and ideals, but I just don't give a damn about them thanks to the tedious dialogues.
Absolutely gorgeously shot - especially since it was an apprentice effort from Bertolucci. A real tension between wanting to be a rebel and almost accepting that you are just as bourgeois as everyone else.
Bertolucci was still developing his technique when he made this flawed, imperfect attempt at an Italian Nouvelle Vague film that is in fact more about style than substance, made by someone full of ideas but who would still need time to mature his vision of things.
OK but why all the incest? Those wacky Italians.
Bertolucci's second feature 'Before the Revolution' is a cinematic opus of style much like french new wave film's 'Breathless', "Jules and Jim', etc. Centering around the Revolution of 1948, the film follows a young man, Fabrizio, from an upper class family who is on the brink of adulthood. He struggles with his beliefs on church vs. state, rich vs. poor, etc. After his good friend drowns, Fabrizio meets his Aunt Gina, and they begin to fall in love with each other. Yea, this sounds uncomfortable and weird, but Bertolucci never plays it up or even addresses it to the point that its never awkward at all. This film features lots of sophisticated dialogue about class struggles, relgion, etc. but the real thing about hte film is they visual style in which Bertolucci just goes nuts with. Bertolucci plays around with editing, framing, opticals, etc to really create film that is always fresh and interesting. Gina, played by Adriana Asti, is such a fascinating character. She is a bundle of anxiety, energy and emotion. Really a fantastic film about the journey to adulthood and it perfectly captures the young idealistic nature that exists when discovering the world on a more complex level. With themes of revolution, conformity, fascism, etc.. this is quite a loaded features, but it should not be missed.
An extremely personal passion odyssey that displays much of what would come in Bertolucci's further career while also being wholly original unto itself. Being much less showing than his latter repertoire, Asti provides a great sexual presence. Like always, very politically juxtaposed.
Early Bertolucci. A bit dated, not as good as the new wave films it attempts to emulate.
Young man Fabrizio is dealing with a difficult time in his life. At the cusp of manhood while the world he has known as a bourgeois is beginning to crumble. He aspires to be an intellectual, tries to understand communism and falls very much in love with Gina, his aunt. A coming-of-age film that has been captured magnificently by director Bertolucci who shoots the streets of Parmi beautifully. The scenes between aunt and nephew, though incestuous, are very much real - these two people do love each other, but their affair is certainly doomed. Shot with style and flair, this is a terrific film.
This is Bertolucci at his most cine-literate, dropping references to at least a dozen other movies and directors, but in my mind it seems primarily a combination of the stylistic flourishes of Truffaut and the political ambitions of Godard (albeit, this was before Godard got ridiculously didactic). In either case, he has mixed success. The film is awash with cinematic flourishes, some of which are exciting and fresh, but some just seem like indulgent showing off. His political commentary is less scattershot and in-your-face than Godard, but still seems muddled at times. I also found the lead characters (Fabrizio and Gina) to be annoyingly manic, which I guess is a weird complaint coming from a Bergman fan, but they did get on my nerves sometimes. Overall, Bertolucci hits more than he misses and it's one of his most interesting works, although definitely flawed.
Can you believe Bertolucci was only 21 when he started making this film? What maturity! Right off the bat, he establishes himself as a thought-provoking and experimental artist. There's also a degree of modesty in it that makes it so inspiring for independent young filmmakers who are interested in exploring the ART of cinema.