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Bernardo Bertolucci: A Filmmaker’s Legacy

On November 26, 2018, one of the world’s greatest filmmaking pioneers passed away. Director Bernardo Bertolucci was born in Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy in 1941, and started his career as an assistant director. Bertolucci attended Rome University, where he also became well known for his poetry. Bertolucci helmed many films, his first being The Grim Reaper (1962) at the age of just 22. The most acclaimed and controversial of his films was certainly Last Tango in Paris (1972), starring the Oscar-nominated Marlon Brando, which earned Bertolucci his first best director Academy Award nomination. The film received an X-rating due to its explicit sex scenes and an infamous graphic rape scene, which is still talked about today.

He will no doubt inspire the filmmakers of tomorrow.

Bertolucci made many films that were “hit and miss,” but The Last Emperor earned him his first best director Oscar and went on to win nine more Academy Awards in 1988. It was one of the few films ever allowed to film in the Chinese forbidden imperial city. In total, Bertolucci’s career spanned over 50 years in the independent art house film community. Some of Bertolucci’s films have been ridiculed and bashed over the years, but he’s often praised for his visual style in such films as Stealing Beauty (1996), The Dreamers (2003), and 1900 (1976). Bernardo Bertolucci paved the way for countless now-famous directors, including Martin Scorsese, who recently made a statement honoring the late filmmaker’s impact on him becoming a director.

Mr. Bertolucci had received numerous awards at film festivals around the world in his later years. He also spent much of his later life in a wheelchair due to a back operation, and he died of cancer on Monday. In the days following his death, the filmmaker has been honored by the entire film industry for his lifetime of versatile, well-known, and fascinating work. He will no doubt inspire the filmmakers of tomorrow.


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