FILM-MAKER Bernardo Bertolucci, whose erotic drama Last Tango In Paris enthralled and shocked the world in 1972, has died aged 77.
The acclaimed director, a multiple Oscar-winner for The Last Emperor, died surrounded by his family at his home in Rome.
‘He will be remembered among the greatest in Italian and world film,’ said a statement from the Venice Film Festival, which gave him a lifetime achievement award in 2007.
Born in Parma in 1941, Bertolucci moved to Rome aged 13 with his poet father Attilio and his mother Ninetta.
A self-professed Marxist, he tackled politics and ideology in films such as The Conformist, which some critics consider to be his masterpiece.
His lush and vivid style earned him praise throughout his long career. But he suffered some box office flops, had to defend his independence in the face of pressure from Hollywood and frequently courted controversy.
Last Tango In Paris earned him and its two stars — Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider — suspended jail sentences after being banned in Italy. It came to be seen as a classic but Schneider, 19 at the time, later said she felt she was tricked into shooting the infamous rape scene.
Bertolucci — survived by his English wife Clare Peploe, 76 — saw nine Oscars bestowed in 1988 on The Last Emperor, the first film by a western company to be shot in Beijing’s Forbidden City.
In 1997 he directed Stealing Beauty, featuring Liv Tyler in her first leading movie role. And in 2003 he gave a movie debut to Penny Dreadful star Eva Green in The Dreamers. He once said: ‘I think of the movie theatre as a cathedral where we all go together to dream the dream.’