Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci dies at 77

Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian director of Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor, has died in Rome, aged 77.

Born in Parma in 1941, his other films included The Conformist, The Dreamers, 1900 and The Sheltering Sky.

Winner of two Oscars, for directing and co-writing The Last Emperor, he was known for his bold visual style and the controversy stoked by Last Tango in Paris’s explicit sexual content.

Bertolucci was considered one of the last living giants of Italian cinema.

The revered filmmaker had been confined to a wheelchair in recent years, died at his home in Rome after a long illness, surrounded by family.

His final feature, Me and You, had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012.

Bertolucci began his career as an assistant director to Pier Paolo Pasolini on his 1961 film Accattone.

He directed his first feature, 1962’s La Commare Secca, at the age of 21.

The films Before the Revolution and The Spider’s Stratagem followed.

For his controversial 1972 movie “Last Tango in Paris,” starring Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando, he was sentenced to four months in jail for obscenity, but was also awarded an Italian Silver Ribbon award and was nominated for an Oscar.

The film, about an American businessman who begins a sexually charged relationship with a young Frenchwoman, was banned in several countries.

The Last Emperor, a biopic of the Chinese emperor Pu Yi, won nine Oscars in 1988, including best picture.

Bertolucci received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008 and was awarded an honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2011.


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