The entertainment world is in mourning following the sad news that Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci has passed away. He was 77.
Bertolucci’s press office Punto e Virgola confirmed the death on Monday. According to The Guardian, the multi-award-winning filmmaker died following a spell with cancer. He had sadly been confined to a wheelchair for more than 10 years following surgery on a herniated disk in 2003. According to reports, he was surrounded by family when he died in Rome.
Bertolucci was famous for an array of controversial films including The Last Emperor, The Dreamers, 1900 and Last Tango in Paris. He is the only Italian to have ever won the Oscar for best film, taking home the award in 1988 for The Last Emperor. The film actually won nine Oscars, scooping up each category it was nominated in.
A common theme in many of his movies was sexuality. In fact, one of cinema’s most iconic sex scenes was one included in 1972’s Last Tango in Paris. The film, which starred Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider involved butter. Decades after its initial release, the sex scene still generates headlines in modern times.
Bertolucci was born in Parma in Italy in 1941. Just as many of his films included themes of sexuality, many others focused on politics. He had been honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. He is also credited for discovering a name of iconic stars throughout his career including Dominique Sanda, Maria Schneider, Liv Tyler and Eva Green.
While funeral plans have not yet been finalised, it is reported a ceremony will be held in the coming days. Fans have flooded social media with tributes to the late director. American fashion photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber took to Facebook with a photo of Bertolucci and some beautiful words.
“Bernardo Bertolucci was the director who helped me fall in love with Italian cinema. On the wall of my studio, I keep a photo of him and Pasolini sitting on the side of the road—two young men all dressed up in ties and suits—ready for anything that the adventure of film might bring them,” he wrote. “Bernardo’s epic ‘1900’ stands out in my mind as his masterpiece.
“Bernardo was very charming that day, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that he had a reputation for helping other directors figure out problems as they made their own films. Bernardo, you will be missed in every town where the experience of cinema is still celebrated.”
Another fan on Twitter said: “Ah man! Not Bertolucci! Damn. Another one of the greats.”
Film editor Joshua Rothkopf added: “Bertolucci occupied a space I wish more filmmakers had the courage to call home: provocative, sensual, political, outrageous He was all of these things. He made sensations. His films were never just beautiful, never nostalgic. I am gutted.”
Bertolucci occupied a space I wish more filmmakers had the courage to call home: provocative, sensual, political, outrageous. He was all these things. He made sensations. His films were never just beautiful, never nostalgic. I am gutted. pic.twitter.com/vy9hKCRknu
— Joshua Rothkopf (@joshrothkopf) November 26, 2018