Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Dreamers (2003)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Dreamers (2003, Fr/It./UK)

In director Bernardo Bertolucci's NC-17 explicitly-rated film of sexual discovery and intimacy - it was set in the summer in Paris in 1968. It was the first NC-17 rated film in 6 years, after the release of the NC-17 rated independent film Orgazmo (1997), Bent (1997, UK) and Cronenberg's Crash (1996). Earlier in his career, Bertolucci had experienced ratings issues with his controversial X-rated film Last Tango in Paris (1972/1973, It./Fr.).

The arthouse film involved a continual series of semi-incestuous encounters between the three characters, all fellow cineastes. While the twin's parents were away for a month at the seaside, the game-playing group became very close friends and sexual partners:

- Isabelle (Eva Green), an uninhibited, naturally-buxom blonde, Theo's twin;
- Theo (Louis Garrel), Isabelle's possessive, brooding twin brother
- and Matthew (Michael Pitt), an American cinema exchange student studying in Paris

  • Theo explained to Matthew how he and his sister were intimately synchronized - he pointed to his conjoined brain: "She's my twin sister...Yes. She'd be me if she were a man...We're Siamese twins, joined here."
  • in a memorable scene, the trio made a 9:28 minute dash through the Louvre (in homage to a similar scene in Godard's Band of Outsiders (1964) (aka Bande à Part) with Anna Karina and her two suitors) - beating the film's time of 9:45, followed by Matthew's acceptance (with a spliced-in clip of the classic "One of us" scene from Freaks (1932))
  • there was frequent total nudity during the trio's sexual games in the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, interwoven with play-acted homages and clips to classic moments in cinema (Queen Christina, City Lights, Top Hat, Breathless, etc.); the loser forfeited and had to engage in specified sex acts
  • following Theo's failure to identify Blonde Venus, a film with a chorus line dancer-singer wearing a coat, he was forced to masturbate in front of them to a picture of Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel
  • after Matthew's failure to identify the film Scarface (1932) for Theo, as Isabelle stripped down to be totally naked before him, his forfeit was to serve as a mediating lover between the twins by making love to Isabelle in front of Theo. She removed the underpants of a partially-resistant Matthew, finding a picture of herself stuck to his penis ("Oh, how sweet of you, Matthew, to keep my image next to your heart")
  • Isabelle was - surprisingly - shown to be virginal, after she stripped herself down, in Theo's presence; Matthew's declothing was followed by their noisy, grunting copulation on the apartment's kitchen floor (he lowered himself onto her and entered her for intercourse), as Theo non-chalantly fried eggs on the nearby gas stove
  • after they finished having sex, and Isabelle was deflowered (and bled) by Matthew on the kitchen floor, Theo touched Isabelle's forehead and thigh and brought up his fingers covered in blood - and then in the so-called "blood-on-the-face" scene, Matthew also took some of the blood from her broken hymen/vagina and smeared it onto her face as he ardently kissed her

Isabelle with Matthew On the Kitchen Floor
"Blood on the Face"
  • shortly later, Theo revealed his slight jealousy that Matthew was enjoying the threesome ("You've made me feel like I'm a part of you"); Theo bluntly rebutted Matthew: "Let's get something straight, okay? You're a nice boy and I like you a lot... but no... it wasn't always meant to be the three of us. I told you something else, remember? That Isa and I are Siamese twins...I wasn't joking"
  • the threesome shared a bathtub (with their faces reflected in three separate mirrors), when Isabelle's menstrual blood was discovered on the water's surface (a symbol of sexual awakening?)
  • in another of their many games, the twins dared ("proof of your love") to shave Matthew's pubic hair; he strenuously objected: "You're both f--king crazy....This is what you call proof of love? Turning me into a freak?..."; when the two called it just a game, Matthew still refused: "Is this something you do to each other? You want to shave my pubic hair? You want me to be a little boy for you? A little prepubescent Theo at six, who you can play games with? You can touch peepee...I'll show you mine. You show me yours"
  • although he called his criticisms loving, he cruelly noted that he was through with their game-playing, and that the two twins must grow more mature: "You sleep in the same bed together, every night. You bathe together. You pee in the john together. You play these little games. I wish you could step out of yourselves and just look...I look at you, and I listen to you and I think - you're never gonna grow. You won't grow like this. You won't. Not as long as you keep clinging to each other the way that you do"; he proposed to take Isabelle on regular dates - something she had not experienced before
Isabelle's Failed Group Suicide Attempt
  • at the end of the film, they were sleeping together nakedly-intertwined in an indoor tent, and unbeknownst to them, Theo's and Isabelle's parents briefly entered the apartment and found the disturbing sight, but did not wake them
  • a concluding self-destructive streak was exhibited by Isabelle (in homage to Bresson's Mouchette (1967, Fr.) about an abused girl) after she realized her parents had seen them - it was an unsuccessful attempt to commit group suicide by connecting a hose to the gas outlet, and extending the hose into the bedroom

The Trio's Dash Through the Louvre

(Excerpt from Freaks (1932))

Sex Games

Theo Masturbating to a Picture of Marlene Dietrich

Threesome Bathing

Isabelle's (and Theo's) Challenge to Matthew

Threesome in Living Room Tent

The Shocked Parents


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