This week we want to draw your attention to an Italian film director and screenwriter, Bernardo Bertolucci. He is famous for several films such as THE CONFORMIST, LAST TANGO IN PARIS, 1900,THE LAST EMPEROR, THE SHELTERING SKY AND THE DREAMERS.
He was born in Parma, Italy, in 1940. His father was a poet, art historian, anthologist and film critic. We are not surprised though that Bertolucci began writing at the age of fifteen, soon after he started receiving several literary prizes. At first he was determined to make it as a poet until he found himself working as the assistant director to the great filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini.
He left university without graduating and at the age of 22 he directed his first feature film, produced by Tonino Cervi with a screenplay by Pier Paolo Pasolini, called LA COMMARE SECCA(1962).
From then on he left Pasolini’s poetic ideas behind him in order to follow his own personal ideas about cinema, based on the individuality of people who are forced to deal with sudden changes in their lives. For him, existential and political changes do not have a straightforward solution, and in many cases, there simply is not a solution. “I left the ending ambiguous, because that’s the way life is.”
Bertolucci became infamous in 1972 with the controversial film LAST TANGO IN PARIS, with Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. It caused serious controversy due to its representation of women. Even so, he received an Academy Award nomination for best director and Brando was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He then increased his fame with movies like 1900 and LA LUNA, and finally he received the Academy Award for Best director with THE LAST EMPEROR, but that’s not all, the movie actually won all nine Oscars for which it was nominated!
THE LAST EMPEROR is a biographical film telling the life story of Aisin-Gioro Puyi, the last Emperor of China. Puyi’s life is used as a mirror that reflects China’s passage from feudalism through revolution to its current state. This film was the first western movie made in China and the Chinese government made no restrictions on the content, this was an incredible achievement. He then went on to direct other films like THE DREAMERS which deals with political passions and sexual revolutions of two siblings in Paris in 1968.
We encourage you to watch some of Bertolucci’s masterpieces, get inspired by his genius and then send us your own films to us here at ÉCU film festival. You’ve only got two days left! Our final deadline is this Sunday the 18th January 2015, don’t miss it!