Before the Revolution

Before the Revolution Trailers

Original title Prima della rivoluzione
Category Romance, Drama
UK Release Date
Production year 1964
Production Country
Directors Bernardo Bertolucci
Cast Adriana Asti, Francesco Barilli, Allen Midgette, Morando Morandini, Cristina Pariset, Cecrope Barilli
Distributor British Film Institute (BFI)


Bertolucci's brilliantly assured second film is very loosely inspired by Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma, a novel the director adored. The story centres on the emotional and political conflicts within a young man, Fabrizio, who is contemplating joining the Communist Party. But his personal life is even more unresolved, as he breaks away from his planned marriage to a perfect bourgeoise and becomes incestuously involved with his alluring aunt (Adriana Asti). Bertolucci's obsession for politics and cinema is openly expressed through this alter-ego and in the extraordinary freedom of his camerawork and editing. There are heartfelt allusions to the history of filmmaking - a cinephile friend cries out 'One cannot live without Rossellini', while an erotic love scene echoes Jean Vigo's L'Atalante - as well as to the city of his youth, with a climactic sequence at the opera that is breathtaking in its sweep and intensity.