In PARTNER, Bernardo Bertolucci conflated his interests in psychoanalysis, nonlinear narrative, and Godard to create a uniquely avant-garde work unlike anything in his ouevre. The film is loosely based on Dostoyevsky's novel THE DOUBLE and concerns an alienated, puckish young man named Jacob (Pierre Clementi) who confronts his own double. Jacob allows his doppelganger to take over his life; the second Jacob commandeers his predecessor's theater class in the hopes of creating living theater--as a violent act of social revolution. The idea of students wreaking havoc was not an unfamiliar one in 1968, and Bertolucci refuses to take Jacob's dangerous intellectual posturing lightly. The second Jacob is a handsome killer, the first a handsome weakling who must find the courage to resist his baser self. Bertolucci matches inspired plot points with arresting images, including visual film references and the bright color schemes that would later become his trademark.
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