After Woody Allen (2002) and Clint Eastwood (2009), another sacred monster of international film directing – the Italian Bernardo Bertolucci – will be awarded the Palme d’honneur. This time, the ceremony will take place during the opening gala of the 64th edition, on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. The president of the Cannes Festival, Gilles Jacob, will award him the trophy on behalf of the Board of Administration, accompanied by this year’s president of the jury, Robert De Niro, who starred, himself, in one of Bertolucci’s films (“Novocento”, 1976).Born in Parma, the Emilia-Romagna region, on March 16, 1940, Bernardo Bertolucci comes from a family of writers and artists (his father was a poet, while one of his brothers is a theatre director). His films are aesthetically bold and they have often shocked by the originality of their artistic premises. It is no accident that Gilles Jacob should have stressed, in speaking of Bertolucci’s body of work, its uniqueness, wide range and emotional intensity.
He has worked with great actors, from Burt Lancaster, Gérard Dépardieu and Robert De Niro, to Marlon Brando and Donald Sutherland. Many of his films became milestones in world cinema, even when they stirred controversy: “Before the Revolution” (1964), “The Conformist” (1970), “Last Tango in Paris” (173), “The Last Emperor” (1978), “Little Buddha” (1993), “The Dreamers” (2003).
He has never won the Palme d’Or, but the distinction he is to receive now finally does him justice, rewarding an exceptional body of work, belonging to one of the greatest directors in world film history.