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Born in Italy, on the 16th of March, 1940, Bertolucci happens to one of the greatest living Italian film directors today, and the most controversial. Here's my Top-7 Bertolucci films.
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Here are My TOP-5
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Excellent movie by a great director
'Water' (2005), the final part of Toronto-based Indian film-director Deepa Mehta's elemental trilogy has been finally completed, almost ten years after the release of the very first controversial element, 'Fire' (1996), which was followed with a slightly lesser controversial sequel '1947: Earth' (1998). Mehta made her directorial debut with a 24-minute Canadian short film 'At 99: A Portrait of Louise Tandy Murch' (1975), but it was her Canadian feature film about the life of Indians living in Canada that brought her fame back in east, her country by birthright, 'Sam & Me' (1991). Recognition internationally came in the way of 'Camilla' (1994), starring Bridget Fonda, along with the actress who in 1990 won an Oscar in Best Actress in a Leading Role category at the age of 80, paving the way for middle-aged actresses to still have hope, for her portrayal of a stubborn old Jewish woman in 'Driving Miss Daisy' (1989), late Jessica Tandy.
'Camilla' dealt with a friendship between two women from two other ends of the human lifespan, a May/December friendship. 'Camilla' was Tandy's last picture; she died the very same year.
International fame followed Deepa Mehta in 1996 with the release of the controversial 'Fire', which spread with rage among the false patriotic consciousness existing Indian extremist. Having already explored friendship between two women in 'Camilla', in 'Fire' Mehta went a step further to portray a more intimate relationship between two lonely neglected women. Set in modern day India, the suburbs of the capital city of New Delhi, it shows two brothers and their wives, the elder brother (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) having joined a weird Hindu sect leads a life of celibacy, faithful to his guru of sexless existence. The younger brother (Javed Jaffrey) is having an extra marital affair with a Chinese woman (Alice Poon). Thus, both the wives, Shabana Azmi playing the elder brothers wife and Nandita Das the younger wife, find themselves neglected in their own way. One forced to lead a celibate life, thanks to her husband's eccentricities, and the other whose only interaction with her husband is through sex, and nothing more. Living in a world of in-laws and being the only two outsiders in the family, having nobody else to confide in, the two women fall in the arms of each other. Thus comes the issue of lesbianism. If there were an outside man's shoulder to cry on, there most probably would have been chance for them to fall into the arms of a man, but having no one else to confide in, their need for each others support is quite obvious. It does not necessarily state that all neglected women would end up taking lesbianism, it just happened to exist with regard to the two women in this context. All in all, the movie is excellent, and delves far deeper than just two women rolling in bed. The key focus isn't lesbianism in the movie, but the plight of modern day neglected Indian wives, even in the capital city, the two female characters just happen to have a sexual relationship.
Two years later, Deepa Mehta's second installment was the element of mother earth, released in India by the name of '1947: Earth',yet another excellent movie by a great director, this time in the Hindi language, unlike 'Fire', which was made in the English language.
Now Deepa Mehta has managed to complete the trilogy, despite a lot of problems, having released the final installment recently, 'Water'. No doubt it would be just as great as the other two.
Closer (2004) is the best postmodern art offering to hit the big screen in decades. The best since Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Ingmar Bergman's Scenes From A Marriage (1973). In fact the movie itself echo's the study of troubled marital relationships spoken of in both the art movie classics. It is hard to explain what the exact plot of this story is; crudely putting it, Closer deals with heterosexual relationships and swapping partners. It is an excellent study of adults, made by adults for an adult audience. For once we have a movie, which isn't called an adult movie just by the insert of sex and nudity, for there is none of that. The story is meant for more mature intelligent audiences, which neither would children be able to comprehend, and nor would they find it interesting. Not that it is slow moving, it actually moves quickly, and time passes by with a blink of an eye. It's always swift moving capturing the viewers attention, the dialogue is sleek and fast, not a single boring moment. The viewer's mind would never wander away, as he or she would be so involved with the unique story and it's extra unique characters. The superb cast consists of Jude law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman. The film cannot be imagined with anyone else instead. If another replaced even one of these stars, it might have not been such great a movie. The cast is that perfect. In fact all four-cast members together won in the category for 'Best Acting Ensemble' at the 'Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards'. None of the characters are very nice people one would want to associate with, especially the men. Not that the women are any saints, but the two men portrayed in this movie are out right savage animals. Based on a play by Patrick Marber, Closer, was excellently adapted to the big screen by director Mike Nichols. Interesting Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), was Nichols directorial debut starring the two best character actors of modern art form of cinema, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Thus we see that both Mike Nichols' directorial debut and his latest offering are two best movies ever released in postmodern artistic cinema genre made in the English language. As most art cinema is affiliated to European ventures, with Sweden's Ingmar Bergman, France's Francois Truffant & Jean-Luc Goddard to Italian Federico Fellinini and many such great European directors. Closer would no doubt be remembered as one best ever made, and the best of the early twenty-first century. This superb piece of art, so believably realistic, will no doubt be taught to students of cinema, not just in film schools, but also as analysis of film literature. And Julia Roberts name is associated with this masterpiece. It is no use writing what the movie is about one must actually watch this. It is unique, and the best all four; Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen; would have ever appeared in.