Bernardo Bertolucci (Italian: [berˈnardo bertoˈluttʃi]; 16 March 1941 – 26 November 2018) was an Italian director and screenwriter, whose films include The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, The Last Emperor (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), The Sheltering Sky, Little Buddha, Stealing Beauty and The Dreamers.
Bertolucci in 2011
|Born||16 March 1941|
|Died||26 November 2018 (aged 77)|
Bertolucci was born in the Italian city of Parma, in the region of Emilia-Romagna. He was the elder son of Ninetta (Giovanardi), a teacher, and Attilio Bertolucci, who was a poet, a reputed art historian, anthologist and film critic. His mother was born in Australia, to an Italian father and an Irish mother. Having been raised in an artistic environment, Bertolucci began writing at the age of fifteen, and soon after received several prestigious literary prizes including the Premio Viareggio for his first book. His father's background helped his career: the elder Bertolucci had helped the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini publish his first novel, and Pasolini reciprocated by hiring Bertolucci as first assistant in Rome on Accattone (1961).
Bertolucci had one brother, the theatre director and playwright Giuseppe (27 February 1947 – 16 June 2012). His cousin was the film producer Giovanni Bertolucci (24 June 1940 – 17 February 2005), with whom he worked on a number of films.
Bertolucci initially wished to become a poet like his father. With this goal in mind, he attended the Faculty of Modern Literature of the University of Rome from 1958 to 1961, where his film career as an assistant director to Pasolini began. Shortly after, Bertolucci left the University without graduating. In 1962, at the age of 22, he directed his first feature film, produced by Tonino Cervi with a screenplay by Pasolini, called La commare secca (1962). The film is a murder mystery, following a prostitute's homicide. Bertolucci uses flashbacks to piece together the crime and the person who committed it. The film which shortly followed was his acclaimed Before the Revolution (Prima della rivoluzione, 1964).
The boom of Italian cinema, which gave Bertolucci his start, slowed in the 1970s as directors were forced to co-produce their films with several of the American, Swedish, French, and German companies and actors due to the effects of the global economic recession on the Italian film industry.
Bertolucci caused controversy in 1972 with the film Last Tango in Paris, starring Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Jean-Pierre Léaud and Massimo Girotti. The film presents Brando's character, Paul, as he copes with his wife's suicide by emotionally and physically dominating a young woman, Jeane (Schneider). The depictions of Schneider, then 19 years old, were regarded as exploitative. In one scene, Paul anally rapes Jeane using butter as a lubricant. The use of butter was not in the script; Bertolucci and Brando had discussed it, but they did not tell Schneider. She said in 2007 that she had cried "real tears" during the scene and had felt humiliated and "a little raped". In 2013 Bertolucci said that he had withheld the information from Schneider to generate a real "reaction of frustration and rage". Brando alleged that Bertolucci had wanted the characters to have real sex, but Brando and Schneider both said it was simulated. In 2016 Bertolucci released a statement where he clarified that Schneider had known of the violence to be depicted in the scene, but had not been told about the use of butter.
Following the scandal surrounding the film's release, Schneider became a drug addict and suicidal. She later became a women's rights advocate, in particular fighting for more female film directors, more respect for female actors and better representation of women in film and media. Criminal proceedings were brought against Bertolucci in Italy for the rape scene; the film was sequestered by the censorship commission and all copies were ordered destroyed. An Italian court revoked Bertolucci's civil rights for five years and gave him a four-month suspended prison sentence. In 1978 the Appeals Court of Bologna ordered three copies of the film to be preserved in the national film library with the stipulation that they could not be viewed, until Bertolucci was later able to re-submit it for general distribution with no cuts.
Bertolucci increased his fame with his next few films, from 1900 (1976), an epic depiction of the struggles of farmers in Emilia-Romagna from the beginning of the 20th century up to World War II with an international cast (Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Donald Sutherland, Sterling Hayden, Burt Lancaster, Dominique Sanda) to La Luna, set in Rome and in Emilia-Romagna, in which Bertolucci deals with the thorny issue of drugs and incest, and finally La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo (1981), with Ugo Tognazzi.
In 1987, Bertolucci directed the epic The Last Emperor, a biographical film telling the life story of Aisin-Gioro Puyi, the last Emperor of China. The film was independently produced by British producer Jeremy Thomas, with whom Bertolucci worked almost exclusively from then on. The film was independently financed and three years in the making. Bertolucci, who co-wrote the film with Mark Peploe, won the Academy Award for Best Director. The film uses Puyi's life as a mirror that reflects China's passage from feudalism through revolution to its current state.
At the 60th Academy Awards, The Last Emperor won all nine Oscars for which it was nominated: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Music, Original Score and Best Sound.
The Last Emperor was the first feature film ever authorized by the government of the People's Republic of China to film in the Forbidden City. Bertolucci had proposed the film to the Chinese government as one of two possible projects. The other film was La Condition Humaine by André Malraux. The Chinese government preferred The Last Emperor.
After The Last Emperor, and Little Buddha, the director went back to Italy to film, as well as to his old themes with varying results from both critics and the public. He filmed Stealing Beauty in 1996, then The Dreamers in 2003, which describes the political passions and sexual revolutions of two siblings in Paris in 1968.
In 2012, his final film, Me and You was screened out of competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was released early in 2013 in the UK. The film is an adaptation of Niccolò Ammaniti's young-adult's book Me and You. The screenplay for the movie was written by Bertolucci himself, Umberto Contarello and Niccolò Ammaniti. Bertolucci originally intended to shoot the film in 3D but was forced to abandon this plan do to cost.
Bertolucci appeared on the Radio Four programme Start the Week on 22 April 2013, and on Front Row on 29 April 2013, where he chose La Dolce Vita, a film directed by Federico Fellini, for the "Cultural Exchange".
In the spring of 2018, in an interview with the Italian edition of Vanity Fair, Bertolucci announced that he was preparing a new film. He stated, "The theme will be love, let's call it that. In reality, the theme is communication and therefore also incommunicability. The favorite subject of Michelangelo Antonioni and the condition I found myself facing when I moved on from my films for the few, those of the sixties, to a broader cinema ready to meet a large audience."
Bertolucci also penned many screenplays, both for his own films as well as for films directed by others, two of which he also produced.
Bertolucci's films are often very political. He was a professed Marxist and, like Luchino Visconti, who similarly employed many foreign artists during the late 1960s, Bertolucci used his films to express his political views; hence they are often autobiographical as well as highly controversial. His political films were preceded by others re-evaluating history. The Conformist (1970) criticised Fascist ideology, touched upon the relationship between nationhood and nationalism, as well as issues of popular taste and collective memory, all amid an international plot by Benito Mussolini to assassinate a politically active leftist professor of philosophy in Paris. 1900 also analyses the struggle of Left and Right.
On Twitter on 24 April 2015, Bertolucci participated in #whomademyclothes, Fashion Revolution's anti-sweatshop campaign commemorating the 2013 Savar building collapse, the deadliest accident in the history of the garment industry.
1900 (Italian: Novecento, "Twentieth Century") is a 1976 Italian epic historical drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and featuring an international ensemble cast including Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Francesca Bertini, Laura Betti, Stefania Casini, Ellen Schwiers, Sterling Hayden, Alida Valli, Romolo Valli, Stefania Sandrelli, Donald Sutherland, and Burt Lancaster. Set in Bertolucci's ancestral region of Emilia, the film chronicles the lives and friendship of two men – the landowning Alfredo Berlinghieri (De Niro) and the peasant Olmo Dalcò (Depardieu) – as they witness and participate in the political conflicts between fascism and communism that took place in Italy in the first half of the 20th century. The film premiered out of competition at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.With a runtime of 317 minutes in its original version, 1900 is known for being one of the longest commercially released films ever made. Due to its length, the film was presented in two parts when originally released in many countries, including Italy, East and West Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Colombia and Japan. In other countries, such as the United States, a singular, edited-down version of the film was released. Since then, the film is widely regarded as a cult classic, and the film received special edition home video releases from Paramount, Fox and other distributors worldwide. The film's restored version premiered out of competition at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in 2017.Besieged (film)
Besieged (Italian title: L'assedio) is a 1998 film by Bernardo Bertolucci starring Thandie Newton and David Thewlis. The film is based on the short story The Siege by James Lasdun and was supposed to be a 60-minute teleplay until Bertolucci chose to expand it.La Luna (1979 film)
La Luna, also known as Luna, is a 1979 Italian film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Jill Clayburgh. The film concerns the troubled life of a teenage boy and his relationship with his parents, including an incestuous relationship with his mother.La commare secca
La commare secca (literally "The skinny gossip", English title The Grim Reaper) is the 1962 Italian film written and directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, based on a short story by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It was Bertolucci's directorial debut at age 21.Last Tango in Paris
Last Tango in Paris (Italian: Ultimo tango a Parigi; French: Le Dernier Tango à Paris) is a 1972 erotic drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci which portrays a recently widowed American who begins an anonymous sexual relationship with a young Parisian woman. It stars Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, and Jean-Pierre Léaud.
The film's raw portrayal of sexual violence and emotional turmoil led to international controversy and drew various levels of government censorship in different venues. Upon release in the United States, the most graphic scene was cut and the MPAA gave the film an X rating. After revisions were made to the MPAA ratings code, in 1997 the film was re-classified NC-17 for "some explicit sexual content". Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released a censored R-rated cut in 1981.Little Buddha
Little Buddha is a 1993 Italian-French-British drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Chris Isaak, Bridget Fonda and Keanu Reeves as Prince Siddhartha (the Buddha before his enlightenment). It is produced by Bertolucci's usual collaborator, Jeremy Thomas.Love and Anger (film)
Amore e rabbia (Love and Anger) is a 1969 Italian-French anthology film that includes five films directed by five Italian directors and one French director. It premiered at the 19th Berlin International Film Festival in 1969.Me and You (film)
Me and You (Italian: Io e te) is a 2012 Italian drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, based on the novel with the same name by Niccolò Ammaniti. The film was screened out of competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.It was Bertolucci's final feature film before his death on 26 November 2018.Partner (1968 film)
Partner is a 1968 Italian drama film by Bernardo Bertolucci.
Based on the novel The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, it entered the 29th Venice Film Festival and the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section at the 22nd Cannes Film Festival.Recorded Picture Company
Recorded Picture Company is a British film production company founded in 1974 by producer Jeremy Thomas.Stealing Beauty
Stealing Beauty (French: Beauté volée; Italian: Io ballo da sola) is a 1996 drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Liv Tyler, Joseph Fiennes, Jeremy Irons, Sinéad Cusack, and Rachel Weisz. Written by Bertolucci and Susan Minot, the film is about a nineteen-year-old American woman who travels to a lush Tuscan villa near Siena to stay with family friends of her poet mother, who recently died. The film was an international co-production between France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, and was Tyler's first leading film role.
Stealing Beauty premiered in Italy in March 1996, and was officially selected for the 1996 Cannes Film Festival in France in May. It was released in the United States on June 14, 1996.
The film was made entirely in the Tuscany region of Italy. The main location for filming was the estate of Castello di Brolio, and a small villa on the property.Ten Minutes Older
Ten Minutes Older is a 2002 film project consisting of two compilation feature films titled The Trumpet and The Cello. The project was conceived by the producer Nicolas McClintock as a reflection on the theme of time at the turn of the Millennium. Fifteen celebrated film-makers were invited to create their own vision of what time means in ten minutes of film. The music for the compilations was composed by Paul Englishby, and performed by Hugh Masekela (trumpet) and Claudio Bohorques (cello).
The Trumpet was first screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. The Cello was premiered in the official Venice Film Festival 2002. Both films released internationally The two films are dedicated to Herz Frank and Juris Podnieks (Camera) who made the 1978 short film, Ten Minutes Older. The original film and the feature film have been shown together on numerous occasions, including the Yamagata Film Festival in 2004, and the Spanish documentary film festival Punto de Vista in 2006.The Conformist (1970 film)
The Conformist (Italian: Il conformista) is a 1970 political drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The screenplay was written by Bertolucci based on the 1951 novel The Conformist by Alberto Moravia. The film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant and Stefania Sandrelli, and features Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio, Fosco Giachetti, José Quaglio, Dominique Sanda and Pierre Clémenti. The film was a co-production of Italian, French, and West German film companies.
Bertolucci makes use of the 1930s art and decor associated with the Fascist era: the middle-class drawing rooms and the huge halls of the ruling elite.The Dreamers (film)
The Dreamers is a 2003 romantic drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The screenplay is by Gilbert Adair, based on his own novel The Holy Innocents. An international co-production by companies from France, the United Kingdom, and Italy, the film tells the story of an American university student in Paris who, after meeting a peculiar brother and sister who are fellow film enthusiasts, becomes entangled in an erotic triangle. It is set against the backdrop of the 1968 Paris student riots. The film makes several references to various movies of classical and New Wave cinema, incorporating clips from films that are often imitated by the actors in particular scenes.
There are two versions: an uncut NC-17-rated version, and an R-rated version that is about three minutes shorter.The Last Emperor
The Last Emperor (Italian: L'ultimo imperatore) is a 1987 British-Italian epic biographical drama film about the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China, whose autobiography was the basis for the screenplay written by Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci. Independently produced by Jeremy Thomas, it was directed by Bertolucci and released in 1987 by Columbia Pictures. Puyi's life is depicted from his ascent to the throne as a small boy to his imprisonment and political rehabilitation by the Communist Party of China.
The film stars John Lone as Puyi, with Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ruocheng Ying, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Maggie Han, Ric Young, Vivian Wu, and Chen Kaige. It was the first Western feature film authorized by the People's Republic of China to film in the Forbidden City in Beijing. It won 9 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, at the 60th iteration of the event.The Sheltering Sky (film)
The Sheltering Sky is a 1990 British drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich. The film is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by Paul Bowles (who appears in a cameo role) about a couple who journey to northern Africa in the hopes of rekindling their marriage but soon fall prey to the dangers that surround them.The Spider's Stratagem
The Spider's Stratagem (Italian: Strategia del ragno) (1970) is a political film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
The screenplay was written by Bertolucci, based on the story Theme of the Traitor and the Hero by Jorge Luis Borges.Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man
Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (Italian: La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo) is a 1981 Italian film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. It stars Anouk Aimée and Ugo Tognazzi, who was awarded the Best Male Actor Award at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival for his performance. In his review, Vincent Canby describes the film as, "Bernardo Bertolucci's very good, cerebrally tantalizing new film, Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man, the story of what may or may not be a terrorist kidnapping of the sort that has been making Italian headlines with increasing frequency in recent years."Vittorio Storaro filmography
Vittorio Storaro is an Italian cinematographer, and member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and Italian Society of Cinematographers (AIC). Storaro's early films were made in his homeland of Italy, where he began early collaborations with Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, with whom he has continued to collaborate with throughout his career. Storaro and Bertolucci's first major project was the 1970 film The Conformist, based on the Italian novel of the same name.
Storaro's first American film was Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Storaro won an Academy Award for his work on the film, followed by two more Oscars for his work on Reds and The Last Emperor, and a nomination for Dick Tracy. Storaro also acted as cinematographer on films such as Last Tango in Paris, Ishtar, Bulworth, and Exorcist: The Beginning. In addition to Bertolucci and Coppola, Storaro has worked with directors such as Richard Donner, Warren Beatty, and Carlos Saura. Throughout his career, Storaro has been nominated for and won many awards for his work as a cinematographer, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers.