A few hours away from receiving his lifetime achievement Palme d’honneur, the Italian director of The Conformist (1970) and Novecento (1976) met the press to look back on his career, with a few humorous touches thrown in.
Bernardo Bertolucci on the screening of a restored copy of The Conformist at this 64th edition:
"I am delighted because The Conformist hasn't been shown for a long time. I had complete confidence in the technical team in charge of restoration. Perhaps they should have restored me instead of one of my films! The most interesting thing about this film is that, in order to be like everyone else, the conformist has to turn into a fascist!"
The director looks back on the critical reception of Before the Revolution (1964), his first film presented at Cannes, as well as his return for Novecento (1976):
"I remember that the Italian critics slaughtered Before the Revolution". The French journalists on the other hand loved it. For Novecento, I didn't want the film to be presented in Competition. I found it too long and too Hollywoodesque, but Costa-Gavras, who was a member of the Jury that year, told me secretly that had it been in Competition, it would have won the Palme d’or! ".
Bernardo Bertolucci on the making of The Last Emperor (1987):
"It was the most amazing experience of my life. I didn't know China and I saw it changing before my very eyes. On the streets of Beijing, I saw the smiles slowly forming on people's faces."
The director discusses his 3D film project:
"I've seen Avatar and am fascinated by 3D. Why should it be restricted to science-fiction? Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966) would have been stunning in 3D!"
He concludes by analysing Italian cinema:
"It has preserved the legacy of new realism, but is now focusing more on structure and language, and asking itself what cinema really means".
Reported by B.P.