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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Bertolucci, slayer of fathers

1820322866_47aef0f61e.jpgOver at the Guardian, Stuart Jeffries looks back with Bernardo Bertolucci, who still says ‘Films are a way to kill my father’. “One rainy night in Paris in 1970, Bernardo Bertolucci was standing outside the Drugstore Saint Germain. It was a quarter to midnight. He was waiting for his mentor, the great New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, to arrive from the French premiere of the Italian’s new film, The Conformist. “I haven’t talked about this for dozens of years,” says Bertolucci, “but Godard was my real guru, you understand? I used to think there was cinema before Godard and cinema after – like before and after Christ. So what he thought about the film meant a great deal to me.” … At midnight, Godard arrived for the rendezvous. Bertolucci, 37 years after the event, recalls exactly what happened next: “He doesn’t say anything to me. He just gives me a note and then he leaves. I take the note and there was a Chairman Mao portrait on it and with Jean-Luc’s writing that we know from the handwriting on his films. The note says: ‘You have to fight against individualism and capitalism.’ That was his reaction to my movie. I was so enraged that I crumpled it up and threw it under my feet. I’m so sorry I did that because I would love to have it now, to keep it as a relic.” … Why do you think Godard didn’t like The Conformist, I ask Bertolucci. It was, after all, partly a trenchant diagnosis of a fascistic mentality. “I had finished the period in which to be able to communicate would be considered a mortal sin. He had not.” But there might be another reason Godard didn’t like the film. In it, Clerici asks for his doomed teacher’s phone number and address. “The number was Jean-Luc’s and the address was his on Rue Saint Jacques. So you can see that I was the conformist wanting to kill the radical.”
[Lots more at the link.]


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“I’m more and more interested in Godard’s idea that not much matters except dealing with the present moment, that when you look at history, you’ve got to refract it through your awareness of the present. I mean, I’m interested in history, and here I am talking about biopics, but I don’t want to run from the present. And the idea of time-travel through CGI feels like a magic trick that might be an evasion of other issues. Besides, I like working with real actors in real spaces. Can’t help it.”
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