8:00 PM, 30th July, 2004
Paris, 1968. Unrest is brewing as a consequence of the dismissal of a high flyer in the cinema world. Matthew (Pitt) is a young American studying in France. He meets twins Isabelle (Green) and Theo (Garrel) and, through their shared love of cinema and passion for left-leaning politics, they form a bond and open up a soup kitchen for the homeless.
Ok, that last bit is wrong. No soup kitchen, lots of debates about pop culture and freedom, plenty of sexual awakening! (This is Bernardo Bertolucci, after all).
I went to this movie with trepidation, hoping it wasn't going to be similar to Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris (one of the most wanky-arty films in existence). Thankfully, it was better. The film is a must-see for lovers of old cinema (particularly the French New Wave). But the story and performances are real enough for anyone to enjoy.
Bertolucci explores both the exuberance and naivety of being young, which many will relate to. It's about 20 minutes too long, but manages to tie it all together in time for us to appreciate his style and passion for the subject matter.
10:15 PM, 30th July, 2004
"I'm no longer a lawyer," says Agustin Rejas (Bardem), "I'm trying to find a more honest way of practicing the law."
Rejas, disgusted by the corruption he witnessed as a lawyer, has joined the police force. He heads a small unit responsible for assessing and averting potential terrorist threats in a politically unstable, unnamed South American country.
When the capital becomes the target of a series of attacks, Rejas and his team must discover whether these events are the first signs of a coming revolution. But time is short, for unless they can discover the leaders, martial law will be announced and the military will take over. Meanwhile, Rejas becomes increasingly infatuated with his daughter's ballet teacher (Morante). But is she merely hesitant about having an affair with a married man, or does she have something to hide?
Malkovich and Shakespeare have put together a political intrigue that works on the imagination. Although the country isn't named, the story incorporates true events about the Peruvian Guerrilla movement "The Shining Path". While the revolutionary attacks are frightening, we also see corruption at the highest levels of Government and the people's fear of a return to military rule. Rejas wants to be honest, but how can one be an honest man when everyone else is corrupt?