Before the Revolution
Italy, 1964, 115 min, Digital, Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci, Italian with English subtitles
The contrary attraction of sensuality and politics have been the subject of many of Bernardo Bertolucci's films, but the conflict is presented most passionately and personally here, through the figure of young bourgeois revolutionary Fabrizio (Francesco Barilli) involved in a tortured relationship with his aunt Gina (Adriana Asti). Bertolucci was 22 when he burst upon the film scene with this 1964 feature, his second. Here is the unbridled exuberance of the artist who would go on to make The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor. Cameraman Vittorio Storaro became an indispensable accomplice and one of the world's major directors of photography. An early score by composer Ennio Morricone is woven into a musical tapestry that features Verdi's Macbeth, romantic pop by Gino Paoli and the tenor sax stylings of Gato Barbieri. In a droll and memorable scene, lovelorn Fabrizio seeks romantic advice from a film buff friend (producer and co-writer Gianni Amico) who rebuffs him: "Morality is a 360-degree shot by Godard .... And don't forget, you can't live without Rossellini!" With Before the Revolution a generation of baby boomers ran headfirst into the turbulent 60s, discovered art films and became Bertolucci devotees.