BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: Bernardo Bertolucci                                                                 
Born: 16 March 1940 Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy                                           
Bernardo Bertolucci (born March 16, 1940) is an Italian writer and Academy Award           
winning film director.                                                                     
Bernardo Bertolucci was born in the Italian city of Parma, in the region of               
Emilia Romagna. He was the second son of his father Attilio, who was a poet, a             
reputed art historian, anthologist and also a film critic. Having been raised in           
such an environment, Bertolucci began writing at the age of fifteen, and soon             
after received several prestigious literary prizes including the Premio                   
Viareggio for his first book. His father's background helped his career: the               
elder Bertolucci had helped the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini publish             
his first novel, and Pasolini reciprocated by hiring Bertolucci as first                   
assistant in Rome on Accattone (1961). But Bertolucci's potential had already             
been noticed by others, such as Sergio Leone, who asked him to write the                   
storyline for Once Upon a Time in the West. Leone later rejected it as too                 
cerebral for an American audience.                                                         
Bertolucci has two brothers: the film producer Giovanni (b. 24 June 1940) and             
the theatre director and playwright Giuseppe (b. 27 February 1947).                       
His first wife was Adriana Asti, star of his early film Prima della rivoluzione.           
In 1978 he married Clare Peploe, a British screenwriter who has since directed a           
few films as well.                                                                         
Bertolucci initially wished to become a poet like his father. With this goal in           
mind, he attended the Faculty of Modern Literature of the University of Rome               
from 1958 to 1961. As noted above, this is where his film career as an assistant           
director to Pasolini began. Shortly after, Bertolucci left the University                 
without graduating. In 1962, at the age of 21, he directed his first feature               
film, La commare secca (1962) The film is a short murder mystery, following a             
prostitute's homicide. Bertolucci uses flashbacks to piece together the crime             
and the person who committed it. The film which shortly followed was his                   
acclaimed Before the Revolution (Prima della rivoluzione, 1964).                           
The boom of Italian cinema, which gave Bertolucci his start, slowed in the 1970s           
as directors were forced to co-produce their films with several of the American,           
Swedish, French, and German companies and actors due to the effects of the                 
global economic recession on the Italian film industry. It has been speculated that       
this is the point in its history at which Italian cinema began to depend upon             
the international market.                                                                 
Bertolucci might not regret this disintegration: he is actively political, and a           
professed Marxist. Like Visconti, who similarly employed many foreign artists             
during the late 1960s, Bertolucci uses his films to express his political views;           
hence they are often autobiographical as well as highly controversial. His                 
political films were preceded by others re-evaluating history. The Conformist (1970)       
criticised Fascist ideology, touched upon the relationship between nationhood             
and nationalism, as well as issues of popular taste and collective memory, all             
amid an international plot by Mussolini to assassinate a professor of politics             
in Paris, France. 1900 also analyses the struggle of Left and Right. The 1987             
epic The Last Emperor (recently re-released at an extended 219 minutes) allowed           
Bertolucci to influence politics both through his characters and through the act           
of making the film itself. He was granted unprecedented permission to film in             
the Forbidden City of Beijing, and the film's central character Pu Yi undergoes           
a decade-long communist re-education under Mao which takes him from the peacock           
colours of the palace to the grey suit worn by his contemporaries to live out