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Bernardo Bertolucci: In Search of Mystery

Saturday, July 16, 2011
6:00 p.m. 1900
Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy/France/West Germany, 1976)

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(Novecento). Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, and Burt Lancaster star in Bertolucci’s epic combination of socially committed Italian filmmaking and Hollywood gloss, “the biggest manifesto against capital ever paid for with American studio money” (Village Voice). At the dawn of the twentieth century, two boys are born on the same Italian estate; Alfredo (De Niro) is the son of the padrone, destined to become master, while Olmo (Depardieu) is a peasant, and seemingly destined to stay one. Becoming both friends and rivals, they live through world wars, labor revolts, and the rise of Mussolini. Freshly married to a Futurist-poetry-spouting bride, Alfredo vows never to become like his father, yet allows his jack-booted fascist assistant (Donald Sutherland) free reign; history (and a revolution) may judge him differently. “I wanted to marry socialist realism to Gone With the Wind,” notes Bertolucci; with massive set pieces merging with introspective beauty, Hollywood icons with peasants, 1900 is one of the boldest, bravest, and most schizophrenic epics of all time.

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Bertolucci, Franco Arcalli, Giuseppe Bertolucci. Photographed by Vittorio Storaro. With Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Sterling Hayden. (311 mins, In Italian with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Cinecittà Luce S.p.A., permission Swank)