Cinema Sex Politics: Bertolucci Makes 'The Dreamers'

52 min

The first time I saw a movie

at the Cinmathque Franaise...

I thought, "Only the French--

Only the French would house

a cinema inside a palace."

The movie was

Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor.

Its images were so powerful,

it was like being hypnotized.

I was 20 years old.

It was the late '60s...

and I'd come to Paris

for a year to study French.

But it was here

that I got my real education.

I became a member of what in those days

was kind of a free masonry.

A free masonry of cinephiles...

what we'd call "film buffs."

I was one of the insatiables...

the ones you'd always find

sitting closest to the screen.

Why do we sit so close?

Maybe it was because we wanted

to receive the images first...

when they were still new,

still fresh...

before they cleared the hurdles

of the rows behind us...

before they'd been relayed back

from row to row, spectator to spectator...

until worn-out, secondhand,

the size of a postage stamp...

it returned to the

projectionist's cabin.

Doctor, I'm not nuts!

I'm here from the paper! I'm a plant!

Maybe, too, the screen

really was a screen.

It screened us...

from the world.

But there was one evening

in the spring of 1968...

when the world finally

burst through the screen.

The pawn of an obscure coalition...

of dubious interests...

the Minister Malraux

has driven...

Henri Langlois out

of the French Cinematheque.

...if offered us all

a free and fair conception...

of French film culture.

Now, for bureaucratic reasons,

culture's arch-enemies...

have seized this bastion

of liberty.

Resist them!

- Liberty isn't given!

- It's taken!

All those who love film...

- In France...

- And abroad.

...are with you.

And with Henry Langlois!

It was Henri Langlois,

who created the Cinmathque...

and it was because

he liked to show movies...

instead of letting them rot

in some underground vault...

to show any movies--

good, bad, old, new...

silents, Westerns, thrillers--

that all the New Wave filmmakers

came here to learn their craft.

This was where

modern cinema was born.

What lies behind it?

The police!

Langlois had been sacked

by the government...

and it seemed like every film buff

in Paris had turned out in protest.

It was our very own

cultural revolution.

Excuse me.

Can you remove this?

It's stuck to my lips.

Can you remove my cigarette?

It's stuck.

Yes, yes...

of course.


- What are you, English?

- No. I'm American.

You can put it out now.

- What's your name?

- Matthew.

You're here a lot, aren't you?

But you never talk to anyone.

We've been wondering

why you're always alone.

I don't really know anybody.

How come you're

chained to the gates?

I'm not chained to the gates.

- You're awfully clean.

- What?

For someone who likes

the cinema so much.

- Do you know Jacques?

- Jacques?

"If sh*t could sh*t,

it would smell just like Jacques."

My brother's

gone to talk to him.

When he gets back, you'll be able

to smell Jacques on him.

It's like being around pigs.

- You speak English really well.

- What?

- You speak English really well.

- My mother's English.

- Here's Theo. When I introduce you,

just give him a sniff.

- Come on.

Truffaut, Godard, Charbol, Rivette...

and Renoir, Jean Roach,

Rohmer are here.

Signoret, Jean Marais

and God knows who else.

Marcel Carne too.

Why is Came here?

What should we do?

Stay or leave?

I don't know.

Theo, this is Matthew.

- You were right. He's American.

- Hi.

I've seen you around. You've been coming

to all the Nicholas Rays.

Yeah. I really like his movies.

- What? They Live By Night?

- Mm-mm. More like...

Johnny Guitar

and Rebel Without a Cause.

- You know what Godard wrote about him?

- No. What?

"Nicholas Ray is cinema."

- What's up with you?

- Me?

Come on, stick with me!


- Bastards!

- A**holes!

And that was how I first met

Theo and Isabelle.

I could hear my heart pounding.

I don't know if it was because I'd

just been chased by the police...

or because I was already

in love with my new friends.

As we walked and talked

and talked and talked...

about politics, about movies...

and why the French could never come

close to producing a good rock band--

- I'm starving.

- I forgot the sandwiches.

I didn't want that night

ever to end.

- Merci.

- Didn't you bring anything?

No. I'm okay.

Please eat.

Don't mind me.

- No. I'm really not hungry.

- I've broken it now. Take it.

- You're very kind, but I don't--

- For goodness sake,

take it when you're offered it.

Thank you.

- Theo, don't you have something for Matthew?

- This is fine.

- I gave him a third of mine.

- Okay.

- Really, I didn't come here

to eat your sandwiches.

- He doesn't want it.

Yes, he does! He's just too polite

to say he does.

- Aren't you, Matthew?

- You're very kind.

- So where are you from exactly?

- San Diego.

What about you two?

Were you both born in Paris?

I entered this world on

the Champs Elysees, 1959.

The pavement of the Champs-Elysees.

And you know what my

very first words were?

No. What?

"New York Herald Tribune!"

New York Herald Tribune!

- New York Herald Tribune!

- New York Herald Tribune!

Will you come to Rome with me?

Here! Right here! Here!

No, there!

- Good night, Matthew!

- Night.

"Dear Mom...

"I've got some real news this time.

I just met

my first French friends."

- Hello.

- Matthew?

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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