Bernardo Bertolucci

"One of the most respected figures of Italian cinema, Bernardo Bertolucci is responsible for some of the most vibrant and provocative films the medium has ever seen. He remains, after 40 years, as controversial as he is revered." - Joshua Klein (501 Movie Directors, 2007)

Bernardo Bertolucci

Director / Screenwriter
(1940- ) Born March 16, Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: Italy, France, UK
Key Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Political Drama, Erotic Drama, Biography, Romance, Family Drama, Coming-of-Age, Period Film
Key Collaborators: Vittorio Storaro (Cinematographer), Jeremy Thomas (Producer), Ennio Morricone (Composer), Giovanni Bertolucci (Producer), Gabriella Cristiani (Editor), Gianni Silvestri (Production Designer), Stefania Sandrelli (Character Actress), Alain Midgette (Character Actor), Mark Peploe (Screenwriter), Roberto Perpignani (Editor), Franco Arcalli (Editor), Ryuichi Sakamoto (Composer)

"Bernardo Bertolucci was, until the 1980s, another identifiably political Italian director, whose best remembered films were very much influenced by the political activity of the 1960s in Europe and the United States. From his first feature, Before the Revolution (1964) his films display nostalgia for the old order simultaneous with its denunciation. The disintegration of macho masculinity in the face of a (potentially) revolutionary Europe was central to Last Tango in Paris (1972), Bertolucci’s most controversial film... Bertolucci’s epic 1900 (1976), a portrayal of the rise of Italian communism and the struggle of the peasantry against the aristocracy, may be his defining political statement, after which he gradually abandoned many of his radical convictions." - Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2006
"At the age of twenty-one, Bernardo Bertolucci established himself as a major artist in two distinct art forms, winning a prestigious award in poetry and receiving high critical acclaim for his initial film, La commare secca. This combination of talents is evident in all of his films, which have a lyric but exceptionally concrete style." - Robert Burgoyne (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"One of the cinema's greatest masters of visual beauty, especially when assisted by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, Bertolucci's films are also dramatically naive and pretentious far too often, even addled at times, resulting in risible scenes even when respected actors are used. But at least the nine Oscars won by The Last Emperor, one of his three near-masterpieces, have assured that Bertolucci will not simply go down in history as the man who made Last Tango in Paris." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"One of the most accomplished directors of the contemporary Italian cinema... Bertolucci, who believes that "cinema is the true poetic language", had applied his celluloid poesy mostly to political-human themes, but with Last Tango in Paris (1972) he moved into the realm of the purely human. It established Bertolucci as a commercially viable director as well as a highly gifted one." - The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994
"He was Pier Paolo Pasolini's assistant on Accatone (1961), and, like so many filmmakers of his generation, fell under the influence of Jean-Luc Godard - to whom he paid homage in 2003 in The Dreamers (an affectionate, if disappointingly depoliticized souvenir of Paris in the 1960s) and, less flatteringly, in Last Tango. His early films are intellectually inquiring, digressive and allusive, his cinematic exuberance balanced by social-realist concerns and Marxist leanings." - Tom Charity (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"He is a visual stylist whose films often tackle the tensions between conventionality and rebellion, or explore the relationship between politics, sex and ." - Chambers Film Factfinder, 2006
"The psychological and intellectual man in society has been brilliantly explored by Bertolucci." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"I'm no longer interested in making political films. There's something old-fashioned about them. Young people now don't care for politics. It isn't present in life as it used to be. And increasingly I like films which reflect present-day reality." - Bernardo Bertolucci (1999)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Conformist (1970)
Recommended
The Last Emperor (1987)
Worth a Look
La Commare secca (1962), Before the Revolution (1964), Partner (1968), The Spider's Stratagem (1970), Last Tango in Paris (1972) , 1900 (1976) , Luna (1979), Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (1981), The Sheltering Sky (1990), Little Buddha (1993), Stealing Beauty (1995), Besieged (1998), Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (2002) [also directed by Claire Denis, Mike Figgis, Jean-Luc Godard, Jirí Menzel, Michael Radford, Volker Schlöndorff & István Szabó], The Dreamers (2003)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Bernardo Bertoiucci / Favourite Films
Accattone (1961) Pier Paolo Pasolini, Blue Velvet (1986) David Lynch, Breathless (1960) Jean-Luc Godard, City Lights (1931) Charles Chaplin, Germany, Year Zero (1947) Roberto Rossellini, Marnie (1964) Alfred Hitchcock, The Rules of the Game (1939) Jean Renoir, Sansho the Bailiff (1954) Kenji Mizoguchi, Stagecoach (1939) John Ford, Touch of Evil (1958) Orson Welles.
Source: Sight & Sound (2002)
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Films / Books
    The Conformist
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