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the director speaks

Bernardo Bertolucci Dissects Ten of His Classic Scenes

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Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, whose career is being honored with a MoMA retrospective starting today, is one of the most pivotal filmmakers of all time. Over the years he has blended the experimentation of the French New Wave, the operatic gestures of classical Italian cinema, the sensationalism of American movies, and a lush sensuality all his own to create a complex, controversial, and personal body of work. Take your pick as to his most important film — the wildly stylized The Conformist (perhaps as influential a film as Citizen Kane), the notorious Last Tango in Paris, the sprawling, in-your-face Marxist epic 1900, the Oscar juggernaut The Last Emperor, or even the retrospectively acclaimed The Sheltering Sky. As the celebration of his work grew near, the director recently sat with us to dissect ten of the key scenes in his filmography.