Oscar-winning filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci dies at 77

Bernardo Bertolucci, who was best known for his films 'The Last Emperor' and 'Last Tango in Paris', passed away on Monday, November 26, in Rome


                            Oscar-winning filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci dies at 77

Oscar-winning Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci has died at the age of 77. The filmmaker, who was best known for his films 'The Last Emperor' and 'Last Tango in Paris', passed away on Monday, November 26, in Rome, as reportedly confirmed by his publicist to The Guardian.

He reportedly lost his battle to cancer and succumbed to the illness. Bertolucci had been suffering from health issues even before the cancer spell hit him. After undergoing a herniated disc surgery in 2003, he was wheelchair-bound for well over a decade after the surgery left him unable to use his legs to walk.

Bernardo Bertolucci attends a photocall during the 11th Rome Film Festival at Auditorium Parco Della Musica on October 15, 2016, in Rome, Italy. (Getty Images)
Bernardo Bertolucci attends a photocall during the 11th Rome Film Festival at Auditorium Parco Della Musica on October 15, 2016, in Rome, Italy. (Getty Images)

Bertolucci was known for his politically charged films. He was said to have been a Marxist and was known to use his films to express his left-leaning political views. Known to be controversial and also deeply personal, his work was often seen by filmmakers as a way to re-evaluate history through films. He also critiqued Fascism and had strong notions about nationalism. His 1970 film 'The Conformist' was one such example. Based on a novel by the same name by Alberto Moravia, the film voiced strong opinions about the rise of fascist ideology. The film followed an active leftist professor in Paris who was on the verge of being killed by Benito Mussolini.

The filmmaker had two Golden Globes and two Academy Awards under his belt, apart from numerous others. All his life, he remained a vocal critic towards politics. In 2009, when French-Polish director Roman Polinski was captured by the Swiss, he was one of those actively working for his release. He was a part of the appeal group, that insisted that the government release the filmmaker.

He also made sure to participate in social media activism. In 2015, he was part of the campaign that questioned the exploitative measures in the fashion industry called #whomademyclothes. An anti-sweatshop campaign, it was started as a tribute to the 2013 Savar building collapse in Bangladesh. Bertolucci was born in Parma in Italy and was married to British screenwriter, director, and producer Clare Peploe.