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Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci

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The Last Emperor: The Criterion Collection... Bernardo Bertolucci s The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly... more info $29.95was $29.95 Buy Now

Last Tango In Paris DVD "Last Tango In Paris" (1972) features Marlon Brando starring as Paul, an... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Whoever Says The Truth Shall Die... Whoever Says the Truth Shall Die is a naked-truth documentary on the life and... more info $24.95was $24.95 Buy Now

La Commare Secca (The Grim Reaper): The... A young Bernardo Bertolucci demonstrates his early genius with his directing... more info $29.95was $29.95 Buy Now

The Last Emperor: The Criterion Collection... Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards®, unexpectedly... more info $59.95was $59.95 Buy Now

The Last Emperor: The Criterion... MORE > $59.95 Regularly $59.95 Buy Now blu-ray

Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 16, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Parma, IT Profession: director, screenwriter, assistant director, poet, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having grown up in a household that lived and breathed poetry, it was no surprise that Bernardo Bertolucci became an acclaimed and sometimes controversial filmmaker adept at revealing the dark side of human nature with lyrical films. An avowed Communist in the first half of his life, Bertolucci railed against Fascist Italy with internationally acclaimed films like "Prima della rivoluzione" ("Before the Revolution") (1964) and "The Partner" (1968). His career hit hard times after just a few movies before he directed "The Conformist" (1970), a stark, but accessible political drama that earned him considerable international attention, with many critics hailing the film as his masterpiece. Bertolucci followed with arguably one of the most controversial films of all time, "Last Tango in Paris" (1972), which featured without a doubt the most graphic use of butter ever captured on screen. Amidst conflicting calls of genius and pornography, Bertolucci earned widespread critical praise as well as a suspended prison sentence for blasphemy in his native Italy. After making the ambitious, but widely panned "1900" (1976) and the reviled tale of mother-son incest, "Luna" (1979), the director found himself in...

Having grown up in a household that lived and breathed poetry, it was no surprise that Bernardo Bertolucci became an acclaimed and sometimes controversial filmmaker adept at revealing the dark side of human nature with lyrical films. An avowed Communist in the first half of his life, Bertolucci railed against Fascist Italy with internationally acclaimed films like "Prima della rivoluzione" ("Before the Revolution") (1964) and "The Partner" (1968). His career hit hard times after just a few movies before he directed "The Conformist" (1970), a stark, but accessible political drama that earned him considerable international attention, with many critics hailing the film as his masterpiece. Bertolucci followed with arguably one of the most controversial films of all time, "Last Tango in Paris" (1972), which featured without a doubt the most graphic use of butter ever captured on screen. Amidst conflicting calls of genius and pornography, Bertolucci earned widespread critical praise as well as a suspended prison sentence for blasphemy in his native Italy. After making the ambitious, but widely panned "1900" (1976) and the reviled tale of mother-son incest, "Luna" (1979), the director found himself in desperate need of money to finance his films. He miraculously managed to secure funding for his epic period biopic, "The Last Emperor" (1987), a remarkable cinematic achievement that won nine Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture. Though his career took a downward slide with overly ambitious movies like "Little Buddha" (1994) and smaller art house fare like "Stealing Beauty" (1996), Bertolucci nonetheless remained one of the most pre-eminent international directors of the late 20th century.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Dreamers, The (2003) Director
2.
3.
  Besieged (1998) Director
4.
  Stealing Beauty (1996) Director
5.
  Little Buddha (1994) Director
6.
  Sheltering Sky, The (1990) Director
7.
  The Last Emperor (1987) Director
8.
9.
  Luna (1979) Director
10.
  1900 (1977) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Kurosawa's Way (2011)
3.
 Words In Progress (2004) Himself
4.
 Farough Farroukhzad (2002) Himself (Archival Footage)
6.
 Story of X, The (1998) Interviewee
7.
 True Life of Antonio H., The (1994) Himself
8.
 De Domeinen Ditvoorst (1993) Himself
10.
 Great Directors (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Had poems published in magazines by age 12
:
Made amateur 16mm films as a teenager, the first one showing a pig being slaughtered
1961:
Worked as assistant director to family friend Pier Paolo Pasolini on the latter's feature directing debut, "Accattone"
1962:
Published first collection of poems, "In cerca del mistero/In Search of Mystery" (winner of the Viareggio Prize)
1962:
Film directing and co-writing (with Pasolini and Sergio Citti) debut, "La commare secca/The Grim Reaper"; shot on location with a cast of nonprofessionals
1964:
Came into his own directing "Before the Revolution"; critical acclaim, however, did not translate to box office success
1965:
For Italian TV directed three-part documentary "La Via del Petrolio," about an Italian oil company in Iran
1968:
Continued the political argument begun in "Before the Revolution" with "The Partner" (based on Fyodor Dosteyevsky's novel "The Double"); also marked first collaboration with actress Stefania Sandrelli
1968:
Joined the Italian Communist Party; resigned ten years later
1969:
Co-wrote story (with director and Dario Argento) for Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West"
:
Initial collaborations with director of photography Vittorio Storaro, "The Spider's Stratagem" (originally made for Italian television) and "The Conformist"
1970:
Soared to international prominence with "The Conformist"; picture brought him acclaim in the USA; earned first Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay; first film with actress Dominique Sanda
1972:
Helmed "Last Tango in Paris", arguably the most controversial film of its era; garnered Oscar nod as Best Director; film was originally banned in Italy; after finally being released, it was again banned for 11 years; tried for blasphemy, Bertolucci received a suspended prison sentence and lost the right to vote for five years
1975:
Made first film appearance in documentary, "Bertolucci Secundo il Cinema/The Cinema According to Bertolucci/The Making of '1900'", co-directed by his brother and Gianni Amelio
1976:
Assembled an international cast, including Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu and Sanda, for the epic "1900"
1979:
First collaboration with screenwriter (and wife) Clare Peploe, "Luna"
1982:
Initiated by a lama into the Tibetan practice of meditation
1982:
Producing debut, "Sconcerto Rock"
1987:
English language directing debut, "The Last Emperor"; first teaming with screenwriter (and brother-in-law) Mark Peploe; film won nine Academy Awards including Best Picture and two for Bertolucci, as Best Director and for the Best Screenplay
1990:
Co-wrote (with Mark Peploe) and directed "The Sheltering Sky", adapted from the Paul Bowles novel; executive produced by William Aldrich whose director father Robert Aldrich had first optioned the 1949 novel but failed to obtain studio financing after years of trying
1993:
Third film with Mark Peploe, "Little Buddha"; eighth and final collaboration (to date) with Storaro
1996:
Began moving away from the epic format with "Stealing Beauty," starring Liv Tyler; first film made in his native Italy since 1981's "The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man"; also reunited with Sandrelli for the first time since "1900"
1998:
Reteamed with wife on screenplay for "Besieged" (filmed for less than $3 million), adapted from a short story by James Lasdun
2004:
Helmed "The Dreamers," an adaption of the book "Holy Innocents," written by Gilbert Adair. Set in France in the spring of 1968, about three young cineastes that are drawn together through their passion for film
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Rome University: -

Notes

About the role of his father, Attilio (one of Italy's most respected poets), in his films: "My father is the sweetest man, but also very strong. One way to make him less menacing was to make weak fathers in my movies ... All my characters are searching for liberation from my father, but this is the first time (in 'Little Buddha') that someone has been able to free himself.

"When I grew up I found poetry was belonging to him. He already had my mother so I wanted something all mine. Maybe the real reason this Oedipal syndrome wasn't resolved earlier was because my parents are so close. They're kind of impenetrable, always together, no way to sneak in, no way to win. Maybe one way was to do movies, because it was different." --Bernardo Bertolucci quoted in Premiere, May 1994.

On his experience directing Brando in "Last Tango in Paris": "When you work with Marlon Brando you discover what is beyond the great actor is something else--a man who is so omnivorous in his curiosity it's contagious. His questions force you to be as curious as he is. It was an incredible lesson--and I was attempting to take off his Actors Studio mask.

"About a year ago we were talking up at his house--I had not seen him in a long time.

"We were so greedy to talk to each other we sat there--3 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m.--it got dark, but we didn't stop to turn on the lights. At a certain point I said, 'Do you agree that I got something of you in the film?' He said, 'Do you think that man up there on the screen is me? Ha! Ha!' There will always be another 'beyond' with Brando. Doing 'Last Tango' was an initiation into adulthood. I was dealing with an American icon--the American icon." --Bertolucci to Kevin Thomas in Los Angeles Times, October 18, 1996.

"After I made '1900', my great monument to communism, I started to lose faith in it. Communism was a terrible failure. I'm disappointed, but I recognize that to allow me to have my great dreams and utopia, millions of people would have to suffer.

"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." --Bertolucci quoted in Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Clare Peploe. Director, screenwriter. Married in 1978.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Attilio Bertolucci. Poet, critic. Died on June 14, 2000 at age 88.
mother:
Nina Bertolucci. Poetry scholar. Irish-Italian; born in Australia where her revolutionary father had been forced into exile.
brother:
Giuseppe Bertolucci. Filmmaker, writer. Born in 1947; co-scripted (with brother and editor Franco Arcalli) "Novecento/1900".
brother-in-law:
Mark Peploe. Screenwriter. Has worked frequently with Bertolucci.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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