Oscar-winning director Bernardo Bertolucci dies at 77
By NICOLE WINFIELD
Monday, November 26
ROME (AP) — Italian film-maker Bernardo Bertolucci, who won Oscars with “The Last Emperor” and whose erotic drama “Last Tango in Paris” enthralled and shocked the world, died Monday. He was 77.
Bertolucci’s press office, Punto e Virgola, confirmed the death in an email to The Associated Press. Italy’s state-run RAI said Bertolucci died at his home in Rome, surrounded by family.
“He will be remembered among the greatest in Italian and world film,” the Venice Film Festival, which awarded Bertolucci a lifetime achievement award in 2007, said in a statement.
Bertolucci’s movies often explored the sexual relations among characters stuck in a psychological crisis, as in “Last Tango,” which was banned in his own Italy for over a decade. The self-professed Marxist also did not shy away from politics and ideology, as in “The Conformist,” which some critics consider Bertolucci’s masterpiece.
Despite working with A-list American and international stars, Bertolucci always defended his own film-making style against what he said was the pressure of the U.S. film industry. He maintained critical success for most of his career, weathering the controversies that his sexually provocative work would stir and some commercial flops.
“When it comes to commercial cinema, I have the strange pleasure of feeling that I’m from another tribe, an infiltrator,” he told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in 1990.
He was honored for lifetime achievement at the Cannes film festival in 2011, when he was already wheelchair-bound.
Bertolucci’s movies also bore the imprint of the director’s own experiences in psychoanalysis. He always said that making films was his way of communicating with the audience. It was his personal language.
“Maybe I’m an idealist, but I still think of the movie theater as a cathedral where we all go together to dream the dream together,” he said upon receiving an award from the Director’s Guild of America for his 1987 film “The Last Emperor.”
That movie handed Bertolucci his greatest success. In 1988 it won all the nine Academy Awards that it had been nominated for — including best movie and best director.
The movie — the first Western feature film to win permission to shoot in Beijing’s Forbidden City — follows the life of China’s last emperor, from child-king at the end of the Qing Dynasty to war criminal and finally to an ordinary citizen in the People’s Republic.
It was filmed in the lush and vivid style that was one of Bertolucci’s trademarks. It featured grandiose scenes and intimate moments, and a flashback structure that is typical of biopics.
“The last emperor of Italian film is gone,” said Oscar-winning director Roberto Benigni and his wife, the actress Nicoletta Braschi, on learning of his death. In a statement carried by the ANSA news agency, the couple said his work remains “among the marvels of the 20th century.”
Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who often worked with Bertolucci and won one of his three Oscars with “Last Emperor,” compared the director to William Faulkner.
“His style is not unlike that of Faulkner who’ll go on for 30 pages without a period. Bernardo doesn’t just use the camera to convey just one sentence. Everything flows into everything else,” said Storaro.
Bertolucci was born in the northern city of Parma on March 16, 1941, the son of poet Attilio Bertolucci and his wife Ninetta. The family moved to Rome when Bertolucci was 13.
He had originally wanted to be a poet like his father, but later turned to movies.
He began his career while still a student at the University of Rome as an assistant director on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film “Accattone.” A year later, in 1962, he made his first film “The Grim Reaper,” about the murder of a prostitute.
Soon he established himself as one of the brightest young stars of international cinema. By his early 30s, he had already directed highly acclaimed movies: “Before the Revolution” in 1964, a reflection on politics and the middle-class set in the director’s hometown; “The Spider’s Strategem” in 1970, the story of a man who returns to the scene of the killing of his father, an anti-Fascist hero, to discover a web of lies; and “The Conformist,” which is based on an Alberto Moravia novel and depicts the struggle of a man, Jean-Louis Trintignant, to conform to society and expectations in Fascist Italy.
But it was with “Last Tango” that Bertolucci shot to stardom, and notoriety.
The film, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider as a middle-aged man and younger woman who engage in a brutal sexual relationship in a bare Paris apartment, shocked the world and incurred censorship in his native country.
But its raw and improvisational style also earned Brando and Bertolucci Oscar nominations and was likened by New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael to Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” as a revolutionary work of art.
The movie was banned in Italy just after its release in 1972, and was not released again until 1987. The case went back and forth in the courts until the high criminal court banned the film in 1976 and ordered all copies confiscated and destroyed. Bertolucci, Brando and Schneider, as well as the producer Alberto Grimaldi, were sentenced to two months in jail and a fine of $40 each — although the jail terms were suspended.
Schneider herself would say she was traumatized by the movie. The actress, who died in 2011, was just 19 during filming and told the Daily Mail in 2007 that a rape scene involving a stick of butter was included without warning.
“I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can’t force someone to do something that isn’t in the script, but at the time, I didn’t know that,” she said.
“Marlon said to me: ‘Maria, don’t worry, it’s just a movie,’ but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn’t real, I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologize. Thankfully, there was just one take,” she said.
Bertolucci then embarked on his most ambitious project, a four-hour epic tale on the lives of two boys — Gerard Depardieu and Robert De Niro — through the political upheavals of the past century in Italy. The movie — “1900” — won some critical praise, but ended up a spectacular commercial flop.
Bertolucci’s later movies included “The Sheltering Sky,” featuring Debra Winger and John Malkovich as an American couple trying to inject new life into their relationship during a trip to Africa. The 1990 work won Bertolucci a nomination at the Golden Globes.
He also directed “Little Buddha” in 1993 with Keanu Reeves as Siddharta; “Stealing Beauty” in 1996 starring Liv Tyler as a teenager discovering sex during a trip to Italy; “The Dreamers,” again an erotic drama set against a political backdrop — in this case the 1968 student riots in Paris — starring Eva Green and Louis Garrel as cinema-loving siblings who strike up a friendship with visiting American student Michael Pitt. The film featured full-frontal male nudity but was released uncut in the United States.
Bertolucci was married to the English writer and director Clare Peploe. They had no children. Peploe is the sister of Mark Peploe, a screenwriter and close friend of Bertolucci’s who worked with the director on a number of projects.
Punto e Virgola, the press office, said Rome’s city hall would host a wake for Bertolucci on Tuesday. A commemorative ceremony open to the public is being planned for a later date, it said.
Former AP writer Alessandra Rizzo contributed biographical material to this report.
Better forest management won’t end wildfires, but it can reduce the risks – here’s how
November 20, 2018
Courtney Schultz, Associate Professor of Forest and Natural Resource Policy, Colorado State University
Cassandra Moseley, Sr. Associate Vice President for Research and Research Professor, University of Oregon
Disclosure statement: Courtney Schultz received funding from the US Forest Service and Joint Fire Science Program to conduct research on forest restoration and prescribed fire. Cassandra Moseley receives funding from the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior Joint Fire Science Program, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. She is a former member of the USDA Forest Research Advisory Council.
Partners: Colorado State University and University of Oregon provide funding as members of The Conversation US.
President Donald Trump’s recent comments blaming forest managers for catastrophic California wildfires have been met with outrage and ridicule from the wildland fire and forestry community. Not only were these remarks insensitive to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in California – they also reflected a muddled understanding of the interactions between wildfire and forest management.
As scientists who study forest policy and community-based collaboration, here is how we understand this relationship.
Fire is a natural hazard
In cases like the Camp Fire in Northern California, where low humidity, dry vegetation, hot temperatures and high winds have created extreme fire conditions, there is little that homeowners, forest landowners or land managers can do to affect fire behavior. Fire is a natural hazard, like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. It is unique in that it can develop with little warning and last for weeks or even months.
Like other natural hazards, wildfire cannot fully be prevented. However, it is not only possible but urgent to prepare for it, and to get people out of harm’s way when conditions are life-threatening.
It is also increasingly clear that climate change is making these kinds of fires more likely by creating longer fire seasons and hotter and drier conditions. As Toddi Steelman, a prominent fire scientist at Duke University, recently tweeted, “We are only kidding ourselves if we don’t think [a disaster like the Camp Fire] could happen again tomorrow. All the conditions point to more of this in our future.”
Preparing for the inevitable
Despite this reality, there are ways to prepare for fire. During less extreme fire events, actions by homeowners can reduce the risk that their houses will burn down. By clearing brush around homes, changing ventilation systems, keeping roofs and gutters free of leaf litter and moving wood piles, owners can reduce the likelihood that their houses will ignite and create safe spaces for fighters to defend their homes.
Local governments also must continue to improve plans, alert systems and resources for people when it’s time to evacuate. Events in California have shown that time can be extremely limited, and as with other natural disasters, poor and disadvantaged individuals who have limited resources to get to safety will often suffer most. More can be done to prepare to evacuate towns and get information to people rapidly.
Many also have expressed concern about housing growth in places where homes are in close proximity to forestlands that can burn – the area known as the wildland-urban interface. However, many of the most tragic fire events in California, including this year’s fires and those in Napa County in 2017, occurred in urban and suburban areas. Land use planning and improved housing codes, both of which require local initiative, have a role to play in reducing home loss, but a growing number of people will continue to live in areas with significant fire risk in the future.
The National Fire Protection Association explains how homeowners can help prevent their houses from igniting during wildfires.
The role of forest management
Many ecologists say that in some places, forest management – which includes thinning brush and small trees and burning under the right weather conditions – can help reduce unwanted effects when wildfires occur. This is especially true at lower elevations and in drier forests, like the ponderosa pine forests of the Southwest.
Across the country, forest managers, community-based partners and environmental groups are working together to thin trees and increase use of prescribed burning, in which managers intentionally ignite fires under less extreme conditions. Although it may seem counterintuitive, allowing more natural fire to burn under less extreme conditions, instead of suppressing every blaze, also is important.
But thinning and prescribed fire won’t make a difference in all ecosystems, and there are limitations to land management. For example, the Woolsey Fire in Malibu, which now is almost fully contained but has destroyed 1,500 structures and killed three people, is in non-forested shrub lands, where these techniques are unlikely to make a difference. And in high-elevation forests, many scientists say management activities like thinning are inappropriate because fires in these forests are driven more by weather conditions than fuel loads.
There is also disagreement about the value of thinning, particularly if it is not followed by prescribed fire, for changing fire behavior. And efforts to thin and burn in forests may not have any impact on fire behavior under extreme weather conditions.
Prioritizing the right work
The United States has vast fire-prone forested ecosystems. Federal and state agencies and private forest owners cannot possibly manage them all for fire, nor should they aim to. In our view, the right approach is to make efforts in targeted locations, with an increased focus on reducing fuels near communities and in other key areas such as municipal watersheds.
In our research, we have found that improved policies and partnerships are essential for restoring forest conditions and conducting prescribed fires. Policies that promote collaboration allow local partners to share resources and find agreement about how to tackle complex fire management issues with local support.
It is also important to focus funding investments on priority landscapes. Forest management resources are limited, so it is critical that the federal government, states, counties and community members work together to implement targeted solutions.
Another key point is that most thinning and other fire hazard reduction does not typically yield trees and other forest byproducts with economic value. This makes the work expensive. The most valuable timber in the United States typically is not in places with the highest fire hazard, and more commercial logging is not going to stop fires. A lot of good work has already been planned, but more funding and capacity will be needed to get it done.
Solutions for reducing wildfire risk are not always intuitive. They vary from one location to another, and conditions are ever-changing. In the face of growing risk and unprecedented conditions, everyone involved in fire management must recognize the inherent complexity of responding to fire, and work together with communities, firefighters and land managers to find answers that are tailored to different places.
Every hour of every day, Troopers work to keep our roadways safe
Patrol focused on impaired driving as holidays approach
COLUMBUS – The Ohio State Highway Patrol remains committed to removing impaired drivers from Ohio’s roads before senseless tragedies occur. During the first 10 months of 2018, troopers made 22,432 arrests for impaired driving resulting in 51 fewer OVI-related fatal crashes.
Impaired driving does not only occur at night. Every hour of every day, troopers are working to keep our roadways safe. In 2017, troopers made more than 27,000 arrests for driving while impaired. More than 10,000 of those arrests occurred between 5 a.m. and midnight.
A video recap of OSHP impaired driving arrests can be seen here or by visiting https://youtu.be/du7ois5xjwk. The video captures troopers removing impaired drivers from the roads during every hour of a 24-hour period from Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 2018.
“We are seeing positive results from the hard work of troopers removing impaired drivers from our roadways”, said Colonel Paul Pride, Patrol superintendent. “Everyone can contribute to a safer Ohio by not driving while impaired and reporting impaired drivers to the Patrol by calling #677.”
In 2017, approximately one-third (34%) of all fatal crashes involved alcohol or drug impaired driving. These statistics remind us why impaired driving continues to deserve our attention. Everyone can do their part to making the roads safer by driving sober. What choice will you make?