“In a handful of days, I will be given the opportunity to see the most interesting aspects of world cinema. I happily accepted.” – Bernardo Bertolucci’s after being nominated to the presidency of the jury in the 70th installation of the International Venice Film Festival (28 August-7 September).
No stranger to Venice, Bertolucci won the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement in 2007 and awarded the Golden Lion (from his wheelchair, and I was there!) to Marco Bellocchio in 2011. This is the second time he served as Jury President, the first in 1983.
Bertolucci’s been suffering from chronic pain from back problems and confined to a wheelchair, but still managed to make the very cool Io e Te, a movie about a boy who lies to his mother, tells her on a school ski trip, and instead spends the time in his apartment building’s basement helping his half-sister off heroin. Io e Te has been nominated for the David di Donatello award for best picture, and Bertolucci for best director.
Americans know Bertolucci best for The Last Emperor, for which he won 2 Oscars and Last Tango in Paris (1972) a cult film that caused a lot of controversy for its sexual content, earning it the dreaded X rating in the US when it came out.