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Bernardo Bertolucci

(b. 1940) Italian film director

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(1940– )

Italian film director.

Son of the poet and film critic Attilio Bertolucci, Bernardo was born in Parma. As a child he wrote poetry and his first volume of verse, In Search of Mystery, won a national prize while he was still a student at Rome University. He left his studies to work as assistant director on Pasolini's Accattone! (1961) and the following year made his debut as a director with La commare secca (1962). Critical acclaim, however, came with his next film, Prima della rivoluzione (1964; Before the Revolution), which won the Max Ophüls Prize. La strategia del ragno (1970; The Spider's Strategy) and Il conformista (1970; The Conformist) are among the notable films that followed. Bertolucci's radical political viewpoint and remarkable use of setting and camera built up his reputation for producing stringently emotional work. The controversial and sexually explicit Last Tango in Paris (1972), featuring Marlon Brando, which was something of a departure from his earlier work, became a huge box-office success. His other films of the 1970s and 1980s include the epic Novecento (1976; 1900), which originally lasted for over five hours, La luna (1979), and Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (1982). He enjoyed his greatest commercial success to date in 1988 with The Last Emperor, about the fall of the imperial dynasty in China, which won nine Oscars. His films since then include The Sheltering Sky (1990), Little Buddha (1994), and Stealing Beauty (1996).

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