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Before the Revolution 12 rating

Bernardo Bertolucci's beautifully operatic film celebrates the passion and ideology of the 1960s, winner of the Cannes Critics' Week prize in 1964.

Drama 1964 107 mins

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci


For his second feature Bernardo Bertolucci emerged from the neorealist climate that shaped his debut The Grim Reaper to a more stylised and politicised cinema, owing much to the influence of his newfound mentor Jean-Luc Godard.

Young, middle-class and idealistic, Fabrizio struggles to reconcile a commitment to revolutionary ideals with his bourgeois background and the lure of conformity. And an impulsive affair with his free-spirited aunt only adds to his uncertainties. A fascinating record of the flowering of 1960s radicalism, Bertolucci captures the passion and ideology, and also the compromises of this fervent period. With virtuoso camerawork and a classy score by Ennio Morricone, Bertolucci's beautifully operatic film was winner of the Cannes Critics' Week prize in 1964.