Once again, Bertolucci explores his favorite themes of politics, the nature of individuality vs. belonging and transgressive
In 1968 Paris, as the protests that began around cinema threaten to expand and bring down the government, an odd
ménage-a-trios develops between a young American and a twin brother and sister, whose relationship is full of
borderline incest. The three form a tight circle and almost forget the world outside while dunk on booze, sexuality,
and each other. But by the end, the maelstrom outside is too powerful to simply be ignored.
This is a very good film, but for me, not quite a great one. The depths of these characters aren't explored the way
Bertolucci does in, say `The Conformist', and there are even some places where it feels like he pulls his punches
(not a director one thinks of doing so.) But the homosexual attraction between the brother and the American is
reduced to an occasional ambiguous smoldering glance. That aspect, among others, was far more explicit in the novel.
None-the-less, the film is beautifully made (some terrific editing that inserts images from other films that relate to and
comment on the story), and the acting is solid (and bold. While the sex itself isn't that much more explicit than in many
films, the amount of relaxed nudity is, and that meant these young actors had to really throw off their inhibitions to make
many scenes work.
Avoid edited versions - this film is largely about sexuality, and watering down that element waters down the film.