Bertolucci, Bernardo (bĕrnärˈdō bĕrˌtōlōtˈchē) [key], 1940–, Italian film director and screenwriter, b. Parma. The son of poet Attilio Bertolucci and himself a published poet, he began his film career in 1961 as an assistant to director Pier Paolo Pasolini. Bertolucci made his first feature-length film the following year and scored a modest success with Before the Revolution (1964). After directing several documentaries, he returned to features with two tales of Italian fascism, The Spider's Stratagem and The Conformist (both: 1970), his first mature works. Last Tango in Paris (1972) brought him international fame. The story of an affair between a middle-aged American and a young Frenchwoman that featured a riveting performance by Marlon Brando, it was alternately praised and damned for its open and sometimes violent portrayal of sexuality. The Last Emperor (1987), which examined the tumultuous life of Chinese emperor Pu Yi, won Bertolucci Academy Awards for directing and screenwriting; the film also garnered seven additional Oscars. His other films include 1900 (1977), Little Buddha (1994), Stealing Beauty (1996), Besieged (1999), and The Dreamers (2003).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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