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Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci

One of the Italy's greatest post-war directors, Bertolucci is known for the grand sweep of his work, for observing how people are affected by political change, and for shooting all his works with a fine eye for the sensual and the lush.

His early works explore post-facist Italy: the thriller The Spider's Stratagem (70) and, especially, The Conformist (70). The film explores how the titulare conformist, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, is gradually warped by the prevailing ideological conventions of the time. If that film bought him an international reputation, his next would bring global notoriety.

Last Tango in Paris (72) starred Marlon Brando as an American widower who embarks upon a feverish and cruel affair with a young Parisian, played by Maria Schneider. Despite the torrid themes, the film is an intense, bleak work, bringing Bertolucci a Best Director Oscar nomination, fully deserved if only for coaxing the last great performance from Brando.

Novecento (76) was Bertolucci&#...

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