Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci the Italian director whose films are known for their colorful, lyrical visual style, and concrete story content was born on March 16, 1941 in Parma, Italy. His father, Attilio, was a well-known poet and writer.
At the age of twenty-one Bertolucci established himself as a major artist in two distinct art forms, winning the prestigious Premio Viareggio award for poetry for his first book In Search of Mistery, and receiving high critical acclaim for his initial film, La Commare Secca (The Grim Reaper).
At the University of Rome (1958-1961) Bertolucci began his film career as an assistant director to Pier Paolo Pasolini on his inaugural film Accattone. Their budding friendship led both writers, ironically, away from poetry and into the cinema. Bertolucci was very quickly entrusted with the full direction of Pasolini's next project, La Commare Secca based on a story by Pasolini, with the financial backing of producer Tonino Cervi. La Commare Secca was an auspicious debut, followed by his second film Before the Revolution, one of the most intense films by a young director to emerge from the period. He was both screenwriter and director. Bertolucci found at once the high visual style and narrative complexity that distinguish his later films.
Very few international directors in the past four decades have managed to remain as  consistently “critically successful” as Bernardo Bertolucci, whose career has straddled three generations of filmmaking, four continents, and several movie industries.

Alongside his provocative explorations of sexuality and ideology in films such as The Conformist and Last Tango in Paris, his highly kinetic visual style – often characterised by elaborate camera moves, meticulous lighting, symbolic use of colour, and inventive editing – has influenced several generations of filmmakers, from the American “movie brats” of the 1970s, Scorsese, Coppola, and Speilberg, to the music video auteurs of the ’80s and ’90s. Perhaps the most important reason for Bertolucci’s continuing relevance has been the intensely personal nature of his movies.
he makes narrative features, very often based (albeit loosely) on outside literary sources, Bertolucci’s films over the decades reveal distinct connections to their creator’s private dilemmas and the vagaries of his creative and intellectual life. In other words, he has fulfilled his dream of being able “to live films” and “to think cinematographically” – to lay bare his inner life through his work.




La commare secca (1962)

Prima della rivoluzione (1964)

La via del petrolio (1965)

Il canale (1966)

Partner (1968)

Amore e rabbia (1969, segment Agonia)

Il conformista (1970)

Strategia del ragno (1970)

La salute è malata (1971)

12 dicembre (1971)

Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)

Novecento (1976)

La luna (1979)

La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo (1981)

L'addio a Enrico Berlinguer (1984)

The Last Emperor (1987)

12 registi per 12 città (1989, segment Bologna)

The Sheltering Sky (1990)

Little Buddha (1993)

Stealing Beauty (1996)

Besieged (1999)

Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (2002, segment Histoire d'eaux)

The Dreamers (2003)

Me and You (2012)



1971: National Society of Film Critics Award for best director

1973: Nastro d'Argento for Best Director

1987: Academy Award for Best Director

1987: Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay

1987: Golden Globe Award for Best Director

1987: Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay

1987: David di Donatello for Best Director

1987: David di Donatello for Best Script

1987: Nastro d'Argento for Best Director

1987: Directors Guild of America Award for best director

1997: Honorable Mention at the Locarno International Film Festival

1997: Award special visual sensitivity in directing at the Camerimage

1997: Award for collaborating director – director of photography (Vittorio Storaro) at Camerimage

1998: Recognition for free expression by the National Board of Review

2007: Golden Lion for his career at the Venice Film Festival

2011: Honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival


background image:
still frame from the movie Io e Te (2012)

This is something that I dream about: to live films, to arrive at the point at which one can live for films, can think cinematographically, eat cinematographically, sleep cinematographically, as a poet,
a painter, lives, eats, sleeps painting.
Bernardo Bertolucci