Tuesday , June 28 2022

Bernardo Bertolucci: Movies for the sake of cinema



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Bernardo Bertolucci (middle) during the scenario talk with Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando on the set Bernardo Bertolucci (center), in the discussion of scriptwriter Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando on "The Last Tango in Paris".© Ronald Grant Archive / Mary Evans / picturedesk.com
Bernardo Bertolucci (center), in the discussion of scriptwriter Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando on "The Last Tango in Paris".© Ronald Grant Archive / Mary Evans / picturedesk.com

Paris, 1968: A young American meets beautiful Isabella and her twin brother Theo in the midst of protests for film director Henry Langlois. The three retire in a Parisian apartment, while a revolution takes place outside. This is followed by a sensual game of sex, lust, love, arrogance and a fascinating passion for cinema.

It is as if Bernardo Bertolucci, who died months after a long illness, summed up all the themes of his life and especially his motivation to make films in his 2003 film The Dreamers "The Dreamer" of the Italian director In 1941 it is a search for clues in Bertolucci's youth, who molded him, and especially his taste for the cinema.

The Godard model
The film contains countless references and cinematic quotes to Nouvelle Vague and, above all, to Jean-Luc Godard, which Bertolucci has always called his role model. He was deputy director of Pasolini, when at the age of 21 he had the chance to make his first film with "La commare secca" (1962): Even then, long camera shots dominated his cinematic style, whom he co-wrote later with his veteran cinematographer Vittorio Storaro has perfected (with Bertolucci always composing the picture itself, Storaro "degrading" him).

The second film "Before the Revolution" (1964) was marked by Godard and Nouvelle Vague, and this imitation became stronger in the "Partner" (1968). The formal and theoretical confrontation with cinema as a place that exists only for the cinema itself, a blockade of the experimental art form, brought (and then) no audience, which overturned Bertolucci in depression. His major epic sequels, such as "1900" (1976), "The Last Emperor" (1987) or "Little Buddha" (1993), are the breakthroughs of experimental chaos, a cinema celebrates with great accessibility and whose The purpose is to shine beyond the measure. Although "1900" was not a popular success due to its length of five and a half hours and also "Little Buddha" flopped.

For the "last emperor," the last Chinese emperor who came to power at the age of three, Bertolucci was overwhelmed by nine Oscars, including Oscar-winning director and screenwriter. It was a great epic that reminded Bertolucci "why I always wanted to make movies."

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