Remembering Bertolucci

Saverio Costanzo, Richard Peña, Atom Egoyan, Don Rosenfeld and Frédéric Boyer pay tribute

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor was chosen by Wong Kar Wai as artistic director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, curated by Andrew Bolton
Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor was chosen by Wong Kar Wai as artistic director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, curated by Andrew Bolton Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Bernardo Bertolucci died in Rome today, November 26, at the age of 77. When I contacted filmmakers Saverio Costanzo and Atom Egoyan, producer Don Rosenfeld, Richard Peña, Director Emeritus of the New York Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer, for a remembrance of Bernardo Bertolucci, they sent the following personal tributes.

Atom sent his from Canada where he is filming Guest Of Honour.

Atom Egoyan on Bernardo Bertolucci: "I'll never forget Bertolucci introducing Michelangelo Antonioni at a special outdoor screening of L'Avventura at the Taormina Film Festival in 1994."
Atom Egoyan on Bernardo Bertolucci: "I'll never forget Bertolucci introducing Michelangelo Antonioni at a special outdoor screening of L'Avventura at the Taormina Film Festival in 1994." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

"Shooting today and busy, but I'll never forget Bertolucci introducing Michelangelo Antonioni at a special outdoor screening of L'Avventura at the Taormina Film Festival in 1994. To have these two giants together before such a masterpiece at the ancient Roman amphitheatre at the foot of Mount Etna was one of my peak Festival moments. Shooting with David Thewlis today, who of course starred in Bertolucci's Besieged and we took a moment before the shooting day to share memories. At the same festival in Taormina Bertolucci took the time to watch my feature The Adjuster and his warm words and support were so important to me as a young filmmaker. He was an essential figure in moving Italian cinema from neo-realism to the excitement and particular verve of the French New Wave. My cinematographer and I always rewatch The Conformist for inspiration and we're thinking of him right now as we set up our next shot." - Atom Egoyan

"Although I had met Bernardo Bertolucci many times over the years, I never really got to know him until in 2017. The Rome Film Festival, for which I serve as an advisor, asked me to do a public conversation with him. It was really a wonderful afternoon, with Bernardo as sharp as ever, regaling the audience with incredible insights about his work, that of other filmmakers, and some wonderful anecdote. After the program, he told me how much he enjoyed it, and said I must come to dinner the next time I was in Rome. That was just a few weeks ago, and sadly I didn't contact him; it will now be one of the great regrets of my life." - Richard Peña

Saverio Costanzo on Bernardo Bertolucci: "A dream of cinema . A poet . A writer . One of the greatest directors ever ."
Saverio Costanzo on Bernardo Bertolucci: "A dream of cinema . A poet . A writer . One of the greatest directors ever ." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

"A dream of cinema . A poet . A writer . One of the greatest directors ever . My son’s name is Bernardo, in honour to his art . Thanks Bernardo . Thanks from the bottom of my heart ." - Saverio Costanzo

"My first approach to Bernardo Bertolucci's cinema started at the « Cine Club » of my Parisian high school at the beginning of the 70's with the screening of The Spider's Stratagem. I discovered how a film could be political and visually gorgeous. After this important first connection with Bertolucci, I have been keeping up with his films, but also all the films with Vittorio Storaro as Cinematographer. Bertolucci was a visionary filmmaker. He was the assistant of Pasolini on Accattone, one of my favourite films, and gave the best role to Jean-Louis Trintignant in The Conformist one of my top 20 films. He anticipated the character of Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now through Last Tango In Paris. He directed The Dreamers, the best film about the 1968 revolution in Paris. I was fascinated by the wonderful cast in Novecento a 317 minute masterpiece. At the time the film was released, I was obsessed by the beauty of Tragedy Of A Ridiculous Man. Bernardo Bertolucci is one of the filmmakers who built my passion for the Contemporary Cinema." - Frédéric Boyer

Frédéric Boyer: "Bernardo Bertolucci is one of the filmmakers who built my passion for the Contemporary Cinema."
Frédéric Boyer: "Bernardo Bertolucci is one of the filmmakers who built my passion for the Contemporary Cinema." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

"The Conformist remains the Masterpiece that made me want to make Moviemaking my life. Just watching BB’s camera watching the Fall leaves was as profoundly cinematic as anything that came before or after." - Don Rosenfeld

The Film Society of Lincoln Center during the 56th New York Film Festival in its Retrospective section honoured Dan Talbot, founder of New Yorker Films and director of the recently closed Lincoln Plaza Cinemas with screenings of five films, including Bernardo Bertolucci's Before the Revolution, starring Adriana Asti and Francesco Barilli.

Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor was chosen by Wong Kar Wai as artistic director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute 2015 exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, curated by Andrew Bolton.

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