Bernardo Bertolucci, 'Last tango in Paris' director, dies at 77

The award winning director, who received nine Oscars, passed away from cancer

Bertolucci’s films are known for his highly visual style, bold camera work and  mixture of personal storytelling infused with radical politics and sexuality
Bertolucci’s films are known for his highly visual style, bold camera work and mixture of personal storytelling infused with radical politics and sexuality

Bernardo Bertolucci, the award winning director, who received nine Oscars and influenced generations of filmmakers with works such as “The Conformist” and “Last Tango in Paris”, has died at 77.

He was known for films in which he explored politics and sexuality through personal storytelling and audacious camera work

His publicist, Flavia Schiavi, said Bertolucci died at his home in Rome Monday morning. He had been suffering from cancer.

Bertolucci was born in Parma, Italy in 1940, and  grew up in a literary and artistic atmosphere. His father was friends with novelist and poet Pasolini, who hired the 20-year-old Bertolucci as his assistant on his 1961 cinema debut, Accattone, which jumpstarted Bertolucci’s career.

Bertolucci is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of his generation who managed to work both in Europe and Hollywood, though his relationship with the studios had its ups and downs. But even when he operated within the studio system, Bertolucci always managed to make films that were considered projections of his inner world.

Bertolucci’s films are known for his highly visual style, bold camera work and  mixture of personal storytelling infused with radical politics and sexuality.

"Last Tango”, staring Marlon Brando, was banned in several countries, including Italy, where it was not released for viewing until early 1987.

However, the movie won Bertolucci an Oscar nomination and started his international reputation, but his follow-up “1900”, a five-hour historical epic starring Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Donald Sutherland and Burt Lancaster, marked, what would be the start of a lengthy period of commercial flops.

Bertolucci then burst back with ““The Last Emperor” in 1987, beautifully shot by his long-time cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, which won nine Oscars, for which it was nominated, cementing Bertolucci’s position as a filmmaker with a distinct vision.

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