Monday, November 26, 2018


Director Bernardo Bertolucci

I just learned that the Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci died today at the age of 77 after a bout with cancer. You might remember some of his films, The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, and the Last Emperor, to name a few. Bertolucci worked before money ruined Hollywood and the action movie, something that required little translation and could be sold overseas, became king. It could also be said that Bertolucci and his fellow filmmakers were the last generation of filmmakers to tell a story where the camera played the key role. Today, shooting a movie means shooting coverage. The art of cinema is long gone.

Bernardo Bertolucci with Marlon Brando
For me Bertolucci stood alone in his unique use and understanding of how to tell a story with a camera. The unbelievable tilts and pans that he used in Last Tango in Paris. The handheld chase through the woods in the Conformist. I will never forget that bumpy ride as a man ran for his life. Every bounce the camera made filled my gut with fear and emotion.

Robert Ellis
I saw Last Tango in Paris twenty-one times in a theater. The last screening was at a midnight show. I can remember walking outside after the film. It was dark and cold and snow was falling out of the air. When I looked down from the sky, I realized that the man beside me was blind. That’s the last time I ever saw the film. Bertolucci was wonderful. Cheers to a great life well lived!

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