The Dreamers (2003)

Character: Isabelle
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Co-Stars: Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel, Anna Chancellor, Robin Renucci
Written by: Gilbert Adair
Based on: The Holy Innocents, 1988 novel by Gilbert Adair; re-released and revised in conjunction with the film under the title The Dreamers
Genre: Drama, Romance
MPAA Rating: Rated NC-17

Set against the turbulent political backdrop of the Paris riots in the spring of 1968 when the voice of youth was reverberating around Europe, The Dreamers is a story of self-discovery as the three students test each other to see just how far they will go. Left alone in Paris whilst their parents are on holiday, Isabelle (Eva Green) and her twin brother Theo (Louis Garrel) invite Matthew (Michael Pitt), a young American student who share their love of cinema, to stay at their apartment. Their obsession with films is used to create their own world of role-playing, and increasingly demanding mind games, cut off from the rowdy Parisian streets and the growing anger of the crowds.

Eva Green’s Role

Eva plays Isabelle, one half of a French cinemaphile twin who befriends and invites an American student to live with them in their Paris apartment and ventures in a dangerous game of mind, sexual and self-discovery.

Gallery Links
Promo Shots and Movie Stills
Behind The Scenes
DVD Screen Captures
DVD Featurette: Bertolucci makes “TheDreamers”
Polish DVD Featurette: Interview with Eva Green
Online Link
IMDb Page
Available on: DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming services

Eva Green

On the premise of the film
“It’s about a twin sister and brother who have a passionate, almost incestuous relationship. They meet an American student and become friends with him. The three of them start playing mind games involving sexual forfeits, based on the movies. They try to reach beyond the limits, to see how far they can go. They experiment with their emotions, their sexuality. It is very Bertolucci.”


On her character Isabelle
“At first she’s showing off how controlled and confident she is. By the end she’s more like herself. I think she takes refuge behind all those characters because… it’s very difficult to explain the character, because I feel very close to her in some ways. In life I can keep a certain distance from people I’m rather reserved, and people might think that I’m very haughty and impassive, cold. But it’s just a mask of protection. And when she makes love with Matthew, she becomes an adult, in some way. She lets reality come into her… Theo and Isabelle, they don’t want to face the fact that they have to free themselves from each other – and they know that their ambiguous relationship cannot last forever and by remaining in childhood, they’re only “playing games”, they’re still protected.”


On reading the script of The Dreamers
“The script was top secret: they locked me in a room for an hour so I could read it! I remember having a tornado in my head. It was only later that I really discovered the depth of this story, and realized how lucky I was to make my on-screen debut with such a project.”


On filming The Dreamers
“We were really nervous but it was good because Louis was acting like a little kid of two years old, playing with his penis all the time. It helped us to get rid of our inhibitions -and it was a good exercise to stop us from being self-conscious.”


Bernardo Bertolucci

On the time period the film is set in and his participation during the riots
“There was something quite magic in the 1960s. We were dreaming. We were fusing cinema, politics, jazz, rock n’ roll, sex, philosophy and dope. I was devouring it all. There was hope in young people that you had never seen before, and never will again. The attempt to dive into the future, and freedom, was fantastic. It is the last time something happened that was so idealistic and so utopian.”


On the sexual relation content between the characters Matthew and Theo in the script
“The gay sex was in the first script but I had a feeling that it was just too much stuff. It became redundant.”


Michael Pitt

On the sexual relation content between the characters Matthew and Theo in the script
“It was in the script and it’s what I’d signed to do. But they said we weren’t going to do that.”


Gilbert Adair

On the film
“It is about the spring: the springtime of Paris, the springtime of its political awakening and the springtime of their bodies. What happens inside the apartment seems to reflect, in a certain way, what is happening outside.”

Eva’s character Isabelle
“You’re awfully clean for someone who likes the cinema so much.”

“I entered this world on the Champs-Elysees, 1959. La trottoir du Champs Elysees. And do you know what my very first words were? New York Herald Tribune! New York Herald Tribune!”

“Other people’s parents are always nicer than our own, and yet for some reason, our grandparents are always nicer than other people’s.”

“My parents fucked once in their lives. That’s why we’re twins, they didn’t want to make it twice.”

“This is a test. Are you going to pass it or fail it? Be careful. A lot depends on your answer.”

“I can’t stop you, I’ve got no arms.”

“We accept you, one of us! One of us!”
Production Trivia & Facts

Eva’s first three films were all period films: The Dreamers (1960s Paris), Arsène Lupin (19th Century France) and Kingdom Of Heaven (12th Century Jerusalem).

Filmed in Paris, France with external filming shots done at the Musée du Louvre and Palais Chaillot (where Isabelle chains herself to the gate of the Cinémathèque Française).

Premiered during the 60th Venice International Film Festival.

Is a French-British-Italian co-production.

Has a run time of 1 hour and 55 minutes.

To make the actors feel comfortable and natural in the film’s nude scenes, Bertolucci would encourage them to be nude long before the actual take. (per Director’s commentary on the DVD)

The Dreamers is the first film since Orgazmo (1997) that was released theatrically with a NC-17 rating in the USA.

Gilbert Adair did a cameo in the film as the man walking near Jacques Louis David’s “Oath of the Horatii” in the Louvre scene where the characters Isabelle, Theo and Matthew were running around.

The scene in where Isabelle’s hair catches fire is totally unplanned. Eva was supposed to lean forward and kiss Matthew (Michael Pitt) goodnight but accidentally caught her hair on fire by leaning too close to the live candle on the dinner table. Eva, being the professional that she is, didn’t let the accident worry her, acted naturally and continued with the scene. Luckily, Michael Pitt, though surprised and worried, caught her cue and went along with it. Director Bernardo Bertolucci was so impressed that he let Eva, Michael and Louis Garrel continue with the scene and eventually used the take on the final cut of the film. Bertolucci thought that the scene’s spontaneity perfectly fits the theme of the film and lets the audience in that things are about to get crazy.

The end credits scrolled from top to bottom of the screen and multi-line entries are written to be read bottom to top.

Eva and Michael Pitt first met two days before The Dreamers started shooting.

Jake Gyllenhaal was originally cast for the role of Matthew but dropped out before filming began. Gyllenhaal cited that he “wasn’t ready to get naked on film”. Michael Pitt was subsequently cast for the role of Matthew after Bernardo Bertolucci saw him in a play in New York City and couldn’t get his mind off “the kid with big lips”.

Eva earned a Best European Actress nomination at the 2004 European Film Awards.

During a May 2011 Q&A session with, Eva set the record straight that she did not compose the music and soundtrack of The Dreamers or any other film, television and stage project.

Awards & Nominations

Golden Ciak Awards (2004)

Winner (Golden Ciak)

Best Cinematography (Migliore Fotografia) – Fabio Cianchetti

Best Editing (Miglior Montaggio) – Jacopo Quadri for L’odore del sangue

David di Donatello Awards (2004)

Nominated (David)

Best Editing (Migliore Montatore) – Jacopo Quadri

European Film Awards (2004)

Nominated (Audience Award)

Best European Director – Bernardo Bertolucci

Best European Actress – Eva Green

Golden Globes, Italy (2004)

Nominated (Golden Globe)

Best Director (Migliore Regista) – Bernardo Bertolucci

Golden Trailer Awards (2004)

Nominated (Golden Trailer)

Best Foreign Trailer

Goya Awards (2004)

Nominated (Goya)

Best European Film (Mejor Película Europea) – Miguel Contreras Torres

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists (2004)

Nominated (Silver Ribbon)

Best Director (Regista del Miglior Film) – Bernardo Bertolucci

Best Cinematography (Migliore Fotografia) – Fabio Cianchetti

Best Editing (Miglior Montaggio) – Jacopo Quadri