Yesterday brought news of the death of Oscar-winning Italian director and screenwriter Bernardo Bertolucci. After a long battle with lung cancer during which he has been unable to walk and has been confined to a wheelchair, he passed away in Rome, Italy on November 26, 2018 at the age of 77.
Bertolucci was known for a number of classic films, including The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor, and more. His 1987 epic biographical drama The Last Emperor followed the life of Puyi, the actual last emperor of China, and won a whopping nine academy awards including Best Picture and Best Director. He was also known for his political beliefs which would tend to be present in his films. He was open about being a Marxist and his movies like The Conformist criticized fascist ideology.
He has been a controversial figure for quite some time now and his death hasn’t quelled the controversy surrounding him. Most of it stemmed from an interview with Maria Schneider, who starred with Brando in Paris, that described a controversial rape scene in the film as not being in the script and non-consensual. Bertolucci himself would go on to make controversial comments about the issue on television following Schneider’s death, further worsening his public image.
The Italian filmmaker’s final feature film was 2012’s Me and You, a drama based on the Niccolò Ammaniti novel of the same name. He had been married to filmmaker Clare Peploe since 1978, and he had no children.