The Spider's Stratagem (1970) - News Poster


The Forgotten: Alain Robbe-Grillet's "The Man Who Lies" (1968)

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It didn't take long for Alain Robbe-Grillet to plunge into directing, after the success of his literary career (as doyen of the nouvelle roman) and his screenplay for Last Year at Marienbad. And it didn't take long after L'immortelle, his 1963 debut, for him to plunge into porn. Trans-Europ Express (1966) was banned in Britain, its scenes of s&m kink far too extreme for Anglo sensibilities at the time. We were still reeling from Jane Birkin's pubes. We weren't ready for chains and rape fantasies. Still aren't, probably.1968's The Man Who Lies again stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, but seems a step back from the extremes of the previous flick. There's little nudity, little sex. But the whole film is redolent of a ritualized, fetishized, sublimated sex, played out in non-sexual arenas.The film also has a lot in common with Marienbad, since it plays a constant game of "what is truth?
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Contest: Win Bernardo Bertolucci's Restored 'The Conformist' On Blu-ray

With the run of classics that American filmmakers churned out in the studio system during the '70s, it's easy to forget that Italian master Bernardo Bertolucci also delivered some of his finest work during the decade. Across those ten years he delivered "The Spider's Stratagem," "Last Tango In Paris," "1900," and, for many of us here around the office, a personal favorite, "The Conformist." Now that it's been freshly restored for home video, we've got a few copies to share with you. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Dominique Sanda, Gastone Moschin, Pierre Clementi, Enzo Tarascio, and José Quaglio, the film follows a secret police agent, Marcelo Clerici, who is dispatched to assassinate his old professor, Quadri. Clerici uses his honeymoon with his new wife Giulia as the perfect cover under which to carry out his assignment. While on his mission, however, he becomes obsessed with the professor's wife...
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Bernardo Bertolucci to head Venice Jury

Bernardo Bertolucci to head Venice Jury
Bernardo Bertolucci will preside over the International Jury for the Competition of the 70th Venice International Film Festival (28 August – 7 September 2013), which will award the Golden Lion and other official prizes.

“Very few directors can claim a lifetime experience so passionately committed to contemporary cinema like Bertolucci’s. His work has explored with insatiable curiosity the world around us and the ever evolving language of film, discovering and bringing to our attention what’s most vital and beautiful. Such commitment to “the present” is one of the finest services that cinema can render to itself and is one of the many reasons why Bertolucci is the ideal Jury President” stated the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera.

“I cheerfully accept to chair the jury of the 70th Venice International Film Festival,” stated Bernardo Bertolucci . “This is my second time. In 1983 the Venice Film Festival was celebrating its 40th edition.
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Eduardo de Gregorio

Argentinian director whose films drew heavily on the stories of Jorge Luis Borges

Although the Argentinian director and screenwriter Eduardo de Gregorio, who has died aged 70, had lived in Paris since 1970, his work was always identifiably South American. This can be attributed to the overpowering influence of the labyrinthine stories of Jorge Luis Borges on a generation of South American artists.

De Gregorio brought this Borgesian aura to bear on the five features he directed, and on the screenplays he wrote with Jacques Rivette and Bernardo Bertolucci. In fact, for the latter's The Spider's Stratagem (1970), De Gregorio adapted the Borges story Theme of the Traitor and the Hero, smoothly transposing it from Ireland to Italy. It was an elaborate piece of Oedipal plotting in which, revisiting the village in the Po valley where his father was murdered in 1936, a young man discovers that his father was not a hero, but a traitor.
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Why Bertolucci's The Conformist deserves a place in cinema history

The Italian director's 1970 expressionist masterpiece offered a blueprint for a new kind of Hollywood film, which is why Coppola, Spielberg, Scorsese and co owe him a huge debt

Bernardo Bertolucci's expressionist masterpiece of 1970, The Conformist, is the movie that plugs postwar Italian cinema firmly and directly into the emerging 1970s renaissance in Hollywood film-making. Its account of the neuroses and self-loathing of a sexually confused would-be fascist (Jean-Louis Trintignant) aching to fit in in 1938 Rome, who is despatched to Paris to murder his former, anti-fascist college professor, was deemed an instant classic on release.

It was, and is, a highly self-conscious and stylistically venturesome pinnacle of late modernism, drawing from the full range of recent Italian movie history: a little neo-neorealism, a lot of stark and blinding Antonioni-style mise-en-scène, some moments redolent of Fellini. And it was all framed within an evocation of the frivolous fascist-era film-making style derided
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Cinematic revolutions: the ideas that drove movies

From innovative camerawork in the 20s to the Dogme manifesto in the 90s, here are medium-defining moments in film history

There's a great moment in Carol Reed's Odd Man Out: James Mason spills a drink, looks into its bubbles, and sees his troubles in them. Twenty years later, Jean-Luc Godard, who admired Reed, had a similar scene in his movie Two or Three Things I Know About Her. Ten years after that, Martin Scorsese had Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver stare into the bubbles of a drink. Scorsese is a fan of Reed and Godard. To watch such a visual idea pass from film-maker to film-maker is to look into the DNA of the movies.

Cinema has been the autobiography of our times, glammed up like biographies often are. But the hoopla about its box office, the pay packets of movie stars and the production costs of blockbusters
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Before the Revolution – review

The 22-year-old Bertolucci made an impressive debut in 1962 with The Grim Reaper, a Rashomon-style thriller about the murder of a prostitute scripted by his mentor, Pier Paolo Pasolini. But it was his second film, Before the Revolution (1964), now rereleased to accompany a well-deserved retrospective at London's BFI Southbank, that made his name. Semi-autobiographical, partly inspired by Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma, and set in 1962 in his native Parma, the film is deeply indebted to the French new wave and centres on Fabrizio, a 20-year-old introspective haut bourgeois student both attracted to and repelled by middle-class conformity and revolutionary Marxism. He has an incestuous affair with his attractive young aunt (a recurrent theme in Bertolucci's work), and it is altogether a dazzling film, both continually vital and something of a time capsule. I think, however, that his best movies are The Conformist, The Spider's Stratagem, the first part of 1900, and,
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This week's new film events

Bernardo Bertolucci, London

In his early career, which forms the first half of this two-month retrospective, Bertolucci seems to have lived for danger. He was fascinated by eroticism and politics and the connections between them, which, combined with his fluid visual moves, made his films pulse with life. Even before the scandalous Last Tango In Paris, he'd dealt with fascism, murder, terrorism, incest and other hot potatoes in films like The Conformist, La Luna, The Spider's Stratagem and Before The Revolution. His career went widescreen and international, with the star-studded 1900, Oscar triumph The Last Emperor and so on, but the visual mastery never deserted him. Bertolucci himself is in conversation next Saturday and curator David Thompson gives a talk on 14 Apr.

BFI Southbank, SE1, Thu to 30 Apr

Radiophonic Weekend, Bristol

The BBC's unlikely incubator of British electronica gets an aptly boffinish-yet-uber-cool tribute, with films, music, talks and cosmic oscillations from
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