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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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“With every table in the dining room occupied and me, the only waiter, neglecting the needs of a good fifty patrons, I approached Roth. Holding out Balls as a numbness set into the muscles of my face, I spoke. “Sir, I’ve heard you say that you don’t read fiction anymore, but I’ve just had my first novel published and I’d like to give you a copy.”

“His eyes lifting from his iPhone, he took the book from my hands. He congratulated me. Then, staring at the cover, he said, “Great title. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself.”

“These words worked on me like a hit of morphine. Like two hits. It felt as if I was no longer the occupant of my own body. The legs had gone weak, the ears warmed, the eyes watered, the heart rate increased rapidly. Barely able to keep myself upright, I told him, “Thank you.”

“Then Roth, who, the world would learn sixteen days later, was retiring from writing, said, in an even tone, with seeming sincerity, “Yeah, this is great. But I would quit while you’re ahead. Really, it’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it’s not any good. I would say just stop now. You don’t want to do this to yourself. That’s my advice to you.”

“I managed, “It’s too late, sir. There’s no turning back. I’m in.”

“Nodding slowly, he said to me, “Well then, good luck.”

“After which I went back to work.”
~ Julian Tepper

“Any form of physical or sexual assault is a very serious matter, potentially a legal matter. But I’m also wondering, what about having some kind of “extreme asshole” clause? I know lots of people who have been abused verbally and psychologically. That’s traumatizing, too. What do we do with that?  It takes a lot of energy to be an asshole. The people I admire most just aren’t interested in things that take away from their ability to make stuff. The people I really respect, and that I’ve met who fit this definition, have a sense of grace about them, because they know that there is no evolving and there is no wisdom without humility. You can’t get better if you behave in a way that shuts people off. You can’t! You don’t have all the ideas necessary to solve something. You don’t! I’m sure if you spoke to Harvey in his heyday and said to him what I just said to you, he would believe that he accomplished all that he had because of the way he behaved.”
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