ROME – Film lovers, friends, family and colleagues bid their last farewell to Italian Oscar-winning director Bernardo Bertolucci on Tuesday as his body lay in an open coffin at the City Hall in Rome.
Following the celebrated director’s death Monday aged 77 flocks of film starlets and fellow directors visited Bertolucci’s open casket in Rome to pay homage to the master behind acclaimed films such as “Last Tango in Paris” and “The Little Emperor.”
Vittorio Storaro, photography director for many Bertolucci movies said at the event that “he wrote poems with the camera, not narratives,” a reference to Bertolucci’s early career as a poet.
Bertolucci’s wife Clare Peploe made an appearance at the Rome town hall, as did the director’s colleagues and peers Giuseppe Tornatore, Paolo Taviani, Mario Martone and actress Stefania Sandrelli.
Bertolucci launched his cinematographic career alongside other Italian greats including Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni during a golden age for Italian cinema.
The director and scriptwriter was quick to make a name for himself through his work which was, at times, deemed too provocative and even resulted in a punishment from the Italian government that deprived him of his most basic civil liberties – including the right to vote – because the nudes featured in “Last Tango in Paris” (1972) starring Marlon Brando were thought to be obscene.
Bertolucci’s work often made many references to cinema classics and well-known artistic movements and presented a rich visual aesthetic that drew the viewer in with beautiful detail, elaborate camera movements and long enigmatic scenes that had a bewitching quality to them.
In 1987 he won the best director Oscar for his largest production up until then “The Last Emperor,” catapulting him into the spotlight and making him a household name.
“The Last Emperor” won a total of nine Oscars.