in all of Bertolucci's movies, there's a central conflict between the 'radical' impulses and a pessimistic (and/or willing) capitulation to the mainstream of bourgeois society and culture. It's a contradiction that takes on juggernaut proportions in '1900', but it stands as a major source of tension and interest in many of the earlier films. Both Before the Revolution (Bertolucci's second feature) and Partner try to examine it head-on. Revolution is about a middle-class 20-year-old who 'discovers' Marxism and tries - for a while - to change his life; Partner is an exuberant response to the student riots of '68, with Pierre Clémenti as a timid drama student confronting his own anarchic revolutionary alter ego. The first is mostly 'classical' in style, while the second is aggressively 'new wave', but both are full of interruptions and digressions: they throw out ideas and allusions (usually to other movies) with reckless enthusiasm, and they remain invaluable aids to an understanding of the '60s.[Tony Rayns, Time Out]
Fascinating debut of Bertolucci which has a 20 year old torn between radical Marxist action and conformity. Godardian in the way it throws out ideas but essentially classical and lyrical in execution. An important film in Bertolucci's development and probably never exceeded by him.