He had been confined to a wheelchair for over a decade, after surgery on a herniated disc in 2003 was unsuccessful. In the history of movies development, Bertolucci made a successful transition to large-scale Hollywood film-making with 1987’s The Last Emperor, which won nine Oscars, including best picture and best director. His directorial debut in 1962 was as the scriptwriter for La Commare Secca (The Skinny Gossip aka The Grim Reaper). The Conformist marked the beginning of Bertolucci’s collaboration with cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Together they would create a string of visually seductive masterworks, including The Spider’s Stratagem (1970), Last Tango in Paris (1972) and 1900 (1976). The Last Emperor, backed by British producer Jeremy Thomas, became Bertolucci’s biggest awards success. Bertolucci was best-known for introducing explicit cinematic sex into the mainstream through his erotic drama “Last Tango in Paris”, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.
Image from the movie “Last Tango in Paris”
“Bernardo Bertolucci, one of the great masters of Italian cinema, has left us. I remember him as a spectator of his works, like everyone else. But also as a valuable advisor when we decided to invest more resources on cinema at Palazzo Chigi. Thank you Maestro, it was an honor. RIP” former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said now. The president of the Italian General Entertainment Association, Carlo Fontana, said Bertolucci was “one of the greatest authors, perhaps the last one, of the Italian Cinema.” Berolucci received many awards and distinctions, including Gold Medal of the Italian Medal of Merit for Culture and Art of Italy (Rome, 21 February 2001). He was a Grand-Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic of Italy (Rome, 2 June 1988), under proposal of the Council of Ministers.