Bernardo Bertolucci's second feature 'Before the Revolution' is a cinematic opus of style much like french new wave film's 'Breathless', "Jules and Jim', etc. Centering around the Revolution of 1948, the film follows a young man, Fabrizio, from an upper class family who is on the brink of adulthood. He struggles with his beliefs, from the separation of church and state, to questioning the economic class system, among other things. After his good friend drowns, Fabrizio meets his Aunt Gina, and they begin to fall in love with each other. While this relationship could easily feel incredibly uncomfortable for the viewer, Bernardo Bertolucci never lets it become distracting, barely even addressing the odd relationship and in doing so, it never comes awkward or uncomfortable. Before The Revolution is certainly a philosophical film, like many films of this specific era, featuring lots of sophisticated dialogue about class struggles, and religion, among other things, but the real treat of Before The Revolution is Bertolucci's visual style that he unleashes in this film. It almost feels as if Berolucci is experimenting throughout the film, in the best possible way, playing with editing, framing, optical, etc. to create a visceral experience that always feels fresh and interesting. Gina, played by Adriana Asti, is such a fascinating character- a bundle of anxiety, energy and emotion. The style of the film symbolizes youthful exuberance, with Before The Revolution being about these young character's journey towards adulthood, perfectly capturing the young idealistic nature that exists when discovering the world on a more complex level. With themes of revolution, conformity, fascism, Bernardo Bertolucci's Before The Revolution is a dense exploration of a host of societal issues, being an important film that shouldn't be missed.
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