I always wanted to write about Bernardo Bertolucci just to thank the outstanding Russian rock drummer Igor Dotsenko for sending me a VHS with "The Last Tango in Paris" in the late 1980s immediately after DDT's tour in Kamchatka, which changed my whole attitude to cinema.
Thank you Dotsa, I hope you are better there with Jimi and David than here.
And with Bernardo, in fact, too.
And now, finally, about Bertolucci, whose life and film career boil down to sex, power and money.
The profession of a director is best suited for realizing these passions, at least from the point of view of public safety.
How is Bertolucci similar to Pasolini?
Topical issue in the XXI century in Russia.
For starters, they both came from literature to cinema, which is quite rare.
When directors come from film critics, they often turn out to be posers and show-offs like Godard, for whom pushing quotes from other people's films is the main creative method.
Those who came from literature are usually more filled internally, they are not very worried about other people's images - they have a lot of their own inside.
And Bertolucci was doomed to be a writer, because his own father, Attilio, is a fairly well-known poet, whom only amateurs translated here: "I will pick for you / the last rose from the garden, / the white rose that blooms / in the first mists."
As the children of doctors, most likely, are doomed to become doctors, so with poets. Bernardo began writing poetry as a child. He is sometimes confused with his father - in much the same way as the average Russian blogger is unable to distinguish Arseny Tarkovsky from Andrei.
But the young poet Bernardo tried his best and even received the Viareggio Prize for a collection of poems in the city of the same name with large dull beaches. But on the other hand, he found a real Swiss 16-mm Bolex Paillard camera from his relatives and filmed the first film with his brother and sisters about children who were lost while walking to an abandoned cable car. When I saw that there was really something on the film - real pictures - I realized that he was already a director. And already when he made the real peasants change their clothes and walk in the frame exactly as needed in the film Death of a Pig, then everyone else should have understood that the guy was a born manipulator, that is, a director. In any case, he realized that he was not doomed to be an Italian poet for the rest of his life.
Old man Attilio was wise - he quickly realized what was going on, and gave his son as an assistant to his colleague and friend Pier Paolo Pasolini, a poet, writer and, in fact, a film director.
Before plunging into the heat of the growing Italian cinema, young Bernardo asked his father to go to Paris in order to cling to the growing French cinema.
In general, he believed that the language of cinema was French, and as an instinct went to the French Cinematheque - one might say, to the cradle of the “new wave”.
All so elated, he returned and began working for Pasolini as an assistant director on the set of Accattone, a film that can be attributed to the second generation of Italian neorealism.
So, of course, he came to the cinema, but the fashionable neorealism bypassed him in some way.
Although for his first film Bernardo got the plot from Pasolini's own hands, neorealism did not work out.
"Bony Death" (1962) was filmed not only in the constant movement of the camera, but also built completely outside of any neorealism, very, very literary: a prostitute was killed in Rome, and the police interrogated suspicious people who were in the park next door.
And while they are all lying, the camera shows what exactly happened in reality - and in the form of small plots that are separated from each other by a Roman thunderstorm.
It looks very modern and, I would even say, echoes a little in Singer's Suspicious Faces.
Everyone knows that Pasolini is a communist, although he was kicked out of the cell for homosexual relationships, but all his life he reflected on Marxism and revolution. And what is strange - his ideas were somehow rather bizarrely reflected in Bertolucci's next film "Before the Revolution" (1964), where he comes to extremely unpleasant conclusions about the mother's revolutionaries.
Starting with a quote from the old political swindler Talleyrand: "Only the one who lived before the revolution knew how sweet life can be," he leads the viewer through the throwing of young Fabrizio (all the characters here with a big hint of Stendhal's "Parma monastery") from the riot against parents, against the "bourgeoisie" through sex with his own aunt and brings him back to the bosom of the damned bourgeoisie. Well, that is, it was worth finally sleeping with my aunt, as revolutionary thoughts evaporated. They are trying to pull on this picture the influence of the "new wave" of French cinema, but from Godarovsky there are only literary allusions. Well, filmed many times better than Godard, whatever one may say.
Someone sees in the film a symbolic autobiography of Bertolucci himself, who hails from Parma.
But it seems that for such a young director as Bernardo was then, it is strange to think about an autobiography.
The main role is played by Francesco Barilli, who had already directed his first film a year earlier (the film, of course, was called "The Girl from Parma").
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When Bertolucci was already at a very mature age asked about this film and about the revolution, he replied: "And I lived all my life as before the revolution."
Indeed, what kind of revolution 20 years after the war?
Where is the revolution?
To whom is the revolution?
And of course, the leftists pathetically claim that this is one of the "precursors" films of May 1968.
In fact, on their part, it is necessary that as few young people as possible see this picture.
Hardly anyone has seen Bertolucci's third film, except for the circle of Dostoevsky's lovers. "Partner" (1968) based on the story "The Double". The whole picture is an intellectual game: here you have Antonin Artaud's avant-garde Théâtre de la cruauté, German cinema expressionism, and games with schizophrenia. Nevertheless, this is a film that made it to the Venice Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. In short, "Petryushka, trousers!" In any case, it became clear that this director can confidently play intellectualism. And all because good literary preparation.
But with Godard, Bernardo still managed to stand next to him.
In the film almanac Love and Rage (1969) about sex and violence, there were short stories by Pasolini, Bellocchio, and Godard with Bertolucci.
It is a pity that now it is impossible to imagine that the outstanding directors of their era publish "almanacs".
Of the almanacs, only “Love.
What is the era - such are the almanacs.
In 1970, Bernardo decided to settle accounts with damned Italian fascism and released two amazing films, one of which fell victim to the popularity of the other.
Artistic logic led him in "Strategy of the Spider" to a banal and unpleasant for anti-fascists conclusion like "who wrote 4 million denunciations", and the original posters of "The Conformist" are still covered up as they can. The "conformist" based on the novel by Alberto Moravia closely links elements of art and architecture of the 1930s with fascism, making it an integral ideology of the elite and the middle class. And inadvertently resets the "achievements" of May 1968. History then provided him with the opportunity to be convinced of his own righteousness and look at what the "children of 68" did to Europe when they seized power. The best actors - Jean-Louis Trintignant and Stefania Sandrelli - helped to magnify the message.
This is not an easy movie.
This is a full-blown drama that the viewer may not even have been ready for.
Because the rest of Italian cinematography has already moved, after the painful neorealism, to pure entertainment and comedy has flourished.
And here Bertolucci again pulls them back into the swamp of reflection - "what has become of us and what have we done."
Well, and a bit of an explicit theme "from frocio to führer - one step."
Thank God, the Woke activists are so stupid and uneducated that they know nothing about Bertolucci or the "Conformist", otherwise the old man should be damned and "canceled out".
In general, if it were not for "The Conformist", then the mighty film dramas of the 1970s might not have happened, and we would have had to wait ten to twenty years.
Moreover, the Italian cinema began to bend rapidly, and it was saved only by the attraction of foreign producers and money.
And then Bertolucci comes up with a trump card.
"The Last Tango in Paris" (1972) only the last American idiot critic could call "an erotic film", because in fact it is about love and death.
“Nobody would have noticed him if it hadn't been for the scene with butter and anal sex,” the French-Bulgarian filmmaker Dino Dinev, an active participant in the 1968 events, told me.
“The day after the premiere, all our intellectuals were just talking about this butter.
As a result, even those who were not going to watch the film ran to the theaters, ”he added.
Well, these are the Parisian intellectuals who can only be interested in Brando's fingers on a piece of butter.
Meanwhile, the film is about a catastrophically different understanding of love between a man and a woman.
When a man, overcoming the trauma, allows himself to fall in love purely and openly, opening his armor, the woman shoots him in the stomach: “I don’t know who it is, he came himself, I don’t know who it is.”
Actress Maria Schneider, after working with a great director, dictator and manipulator, was unlucky - her brain broke down, and she slipped into drugs, lesbianism and died quite early.
The scale of the personality is not the same.
After the death of the director, of course, there are characters who run on the Internet and accuse Bertolucci of losing her mind.
To that there is one answer: if you cannot work with the greats, take pictures from hipsters and eat less drugs.
Because of the rape scene (as they imagine it - for me, it's more complicated) in Italy, a criminal was opened on Bertolucci, all copies of the film were destroyed, he was deprived of his civil rights for five years and was given about a month in prison on probation.
The only copy was sent to the national cinema library without the right to issue.
On the issue of freedom of creativity and the famous Soviet "film shelf", from which the unrecognized geniuses of Soviet cinema with a gigantic salary suffered so much.
But the hype turned out to be notable.
To the whole world.
Plus an Oscar nomination for Best Director and an Outstanding Directing nomination at the USA Directors Guild Awards.
And Bertolucci was not taken aback - his film, also an epic drama, "1900" (1976) about the difficult life of the peasants Emilia-Romana with Depardieu and De Niro only confirmed his title of an outstanding director.
For those who were still waiting for butter, he offered to carefully consider the details of the male physiology of young handsome men Depardieu and De Niro.
The next film, Luna (1979), can be viewed as a story about drugs and incest, or as a family drama about the nature of musical art.
A complex movie in a beautiful and understandable package.
The Tragedy of an Ridiculous Man (1981) with Hugo Tonyazzi in the title role is really in the tradition of classical Russian literature with its "problems of the little man", and the film was nominated for the Palme d'Or in Cannes.
Bertolucci was a deeply, though closed, feeling person.
Therefore, it is not surprising that during his life and career, he in his soul milled a huge number of philosophical and religious concepts.
And at some point I got carried away with the East.
For seven years he thought about the East, felt it while traveling, read.
And the result was probably his most powerful film - "The Last Emperor" with John Loong as a real historical figure, Emperor of the Qing Dynasty Pu Yi.
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The same one who was taken prisoner by the Soviet paratroopers and who wrote letters to Stalin asking him not to give him back to China.
But the Soviets gave it to socially close ones.
Thank you that neither one nor the other killed him.
But the figure is, of course, tragic, whatever one may say.
The staged part of the picture is beyond praise, as well as the play of John Lone.
It is no wonder that the film was given two Oscars, BAFTA and all kinds of Golden Globes (the significance of this party award of some expats in Los Angeles is greatly exaggerated).
Based on the 1949 novel by Paul Bowles, Bertolucci directs the film Under the Cover of Heaven (the translation of the novel was published in Russia in 2001).
His favorite topic is passion leads to death.
Or maybe the lack of passion and sex lead to death.
Thanks to John Malkovich, otherwise it would be a completely boring sight.
But, of course, there is the print of the master's paw: the whole narrative is read by Paul Bowles himself, and he also appears in the frame at the end of the film.
A trifle, but class.
In 1993, the director makes another trip to the Eastern theme - "Little Buddha". This is a very carefully prepared film - Bertolucci communicated and consulted with leading figures of Buddhism, some of them even appear in the frame. Plus young fashion figures from Western culture like rocker Chris Isaac or Keanu Reeves. And the music of the former keyboardist of the Yellow Magic Orchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto. The operator Vittorio Storaro is good here, however, as always. But I personally tend to view "Little Buddha" as a stage in the director's personal spiritual development. And why does a European man in the street need all this? Unless, once again, show the fig in the pocket of the Chinese Communist Party.
When we were buying the “Little Buddha” for the territory of Russia, I happened to see the master - he did not move in a wheelchair at that time.
But time was short.
When you meet a lump, and even a person who has influenced you in some way - well, what can you say to him, except thanks.
Do not ask stupid journalistic questions that he has heard a million times.
With such monsters, you have to sit down and calmly talk about anything, except for a movie, with Italian wine.
There was no wine.
And Bertolucci was.
And it was wonderful.
This was the last cultural figure with whom I wanted to meet in person.
Escaping Beauty (1996) is such a Tuscany travel booklet for Americans.
Despite the fact that the director tried to make Aerosmith's daughter Liv Tyler a sex symbol, there is no more sex in her than in anti-dandruff shampoo, plus uncorrected squint.
The old man, you see, just wanted to see her naked.
Has the right to.
The film was nominated for the Golden Branch.
The empty suffering of the representatives of the senseless upper-middle class did not resonate in the soul of the viewer and brought only four million to the box office.
The "besieged" of 1998 brought even less money.
But at first it was a TV movie for about an hour, and Bertolucci slightly inflated it and decorated it with his trademark sensual gadgets.
But honestly - I just remembered about him.
That he even exists in the filmography of the master.
Or, as it is customary to write for bloggers - Masters.
Bertolucci's last film worth talking about is The Dreamers (2003), his penultimate film in his life. His thoughts again and again come back to the so-called 1968 revolution. And if earlier he somehow assessed the then balance between sexual and social frustration of young people, now he directly calls sexual dissatisfaction as the driving force of Parisian events. The three students spend their time in the same Cinematheque - from where Godard and Bertolucci himself, chatting about movies and having sex. Well, actually, that's all. The old man dealt with 1968 in the most elegant and erotic way. The script was written by Gilbert Adair from his three books. One of the books is "inspired" by Jean Cocteau's book. That is, a whole pyramid of postmodern influences, in which the original idea is transformed beyond recognition.
Everyone tried to dissuade the female lead actress Eva Green from acting with Bertolucci - like, there will be a lot of naked body and sex in the film, and then you will suffer the fate of Maria Schneider: you will become a drug addict, you will go crazy, they said nothing about “becoming a lesbian” - apparently, now it is is not seen by society as something bad, much less in the 1970s.
But it seems that there is no reason for the zoomers to be afraid of such things as frontal nudity in the movies - they grew up on the Internet and their brains are completely silicon and sex-resistant.
And Bertolucci, in fact, became much softer, kinder towards old age.
The film turned out to be not bad, although in America he was slapped with an age restriction and he collected very little money.
And the festivals did not celebrate him.
His last painting was "Me and You" in 2012.
He died of lung cancer in 2018, working until his last days.
The best personal monument to Bertolucci is to take a bottle of champagne at the corner, walk under the Bir-Aceim bridge, sit on the steps overlooking the river and watch for the umpteenth time as Marlon Brando walks under the bridge towards Rue Jules Verne to the saxophone of Gato Barbieri, clearly swearing: "Infection!"
The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.
The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.