Beautiful Dreamers | Letters | Chicago Reader

Beautiful Dreamers 

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Dear Reader:

Jonathan Rosenbaum should be admired for his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema; it's a shame that his critical perceptions and judgment(s) are frequently myopic, crabbed, and inept, not to mention torturously overwritten (even his minireviews sound tedious and long-winded). To wit, his review of Bertolucci's The Dreamers ["Dream On," February 20], which is not a movie review, but rather a bitter recrimination of those in Paris who got more action than he did in spring of '68, which I would guess would be the vast majority of people, from the way it sounds. Very little of substance is said about the movie. Obviously Mr. Rosenbaum is so predisposed against The Dreamers that I wonder why he even bothered to view the movie once, let alone twice. What is the point of even running such a tedious and biased viewpoint? There is little criticism of the film here, no attempt at understanding the mental and physical state of three FICTITIOUS participants in the events of May '68, three people who are clearly beyond the realm of Mr. Rosenbaum's comprehension. All we get is a long-winded diatribe on how this is not what Mr. Rosenbaum experienced, how this was a revolution that failed (is this a reason not to try?), and his sole insight of that era was less guilt about masturbation. Bravo!

Obviously, I hold a different POV on The Dreamers. I felt the film was thrilling and an entrancing trip through the minds and experiences of these characters, beautifully filmed and edited. I thought it took the right tone, neither condescending nor openly adulatory of those times; it re-created a common mind-set of the time, warts and all, but still with a kind of heady innocence and foolish courage. And I couldn't agree less about the acting--Rosenbaum chides them for being "models," but slavers over the supremely mannequinesque Nicole Kidman (and Jude Law) in that bloated epic bore Cold Mountain? Eva Green shows a great deal of flair, verve, and intelligence, an Anna Karina for the new millennium. I guess it's time to send the staff pedant out to pasture where he can watch his favorite surrealist, John Ford, to his heart's content.

David Hammerbeck

Rogers Park

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