The Italian Almanac

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Bernardo Bertolucci

Italian News / Movies - February 15

Oscar-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci is about to get back behind the camera to make a movie about terrorism, according to reports at the Berlin Film Festival. The flick will be an adaptation of Bel Canto, a best-selling novel by US writer Ann Patchett. Set in an unnamed South American country, it is about a group of guerrillas who crash a birthday party for a visiting Japanese industrialist at a politician's home and take the guests hostage.

Like most films made by Bertolucci, who is a leftist, it looks set to have a political bent. Daily Variety reports that the 65-year-old is currently working on the screenplay. It says that no one has been cast for the film yet. The owner of the book's screen rights, Caroline Baron - who produced Capote, the highly acclaimed biopic about Truman Capote that has been nominated for this year's Academy Awards - is working on the project with Jeremy Thomas, the producer of many Bertolucci films.

Bertolucci was born in Parma in 1940, the son of poet Attilio Bertolucci. A prodigious talent, he was awarded one of Italy's top literary awards, the Premio Viareggio, for a book of poetry before directing his first film at the age of 22. It was eight years later with The Conformist that his skill as a director really came to the fore. The film earned him his first Oscar nomination, for best non-original screenplay. This was followed in 1972 by Last Tango In Paris, one of the most controversial films in cinema history because of the famous 'butter' sex scene between actors Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.