Before the Revolution
“From Parma - the most unlikely and yet poetically perfect place, the place where Stendhal set his great, ironic paean to youth, “The Charterhouse of Parma” - has come Before the Revolution, written and directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900) at the preposterous age of 22.
“It is a richly romantic work.... This movie expresses what it means to be young with the lyricism and narcissism and self-consciousness of the intelligent young.... The movie is set in the 1960s. It is the story of a boy who discovers that he is not single-minded enough to be a revolutionary, that he is too deeply involved in the beauty of life as it is before the revolution. He has a ‘nostalgia for the present.'
“...Bertolucci's youth is integral to the romantic grandeur of this movie, which is most extravagantly beautiful in its excesses - in the manner of supremely gifted children.... Before the Revolution IS too much and that is what is great about it....
“When Fabrizio is told that he speaks like a book, it is apparent that Bertolucci is aware that he too is pretentiously literary. But trying to say too much, and saying it too exquisitely, and not always saying it clearly are not the worst crimes in an artist. No doubt the greatest sequences... stand out ‘too much'; nevertheless, they are great....”