Feature

Bertolucci’s daddy complex

Bernardo Bertolucci took years to get out of his old man’s shadow, says Stuart Jeffries in the London Guardian. The director’s father, Attilio Bertolucci, was a famous Italian poet and film critic who taught his son all about movies and gave him his first

Bernardo Bertolucci took years to get out of his old man’s shadow, says Stuart Jeffries in the London Guardian. The director’s father, Attilio Bertolucci, was a famous Italian poet and film critic who taught his son all about movies and gave him his first camera. When Bertolucci, now 67, began making films, he had a hard time separating his ideas and vision from those of his father—and his father’s attitude didn’t help. “He loved my movies for a simple reason—he felt as if he had done them. He loved his puppet, which is me, because he thought I was very good at doing his movies.” In 1970, Bertolucci began intensive psychoanalysis and started to understand how much his father’s large persona haunted him. It took him years of therapy, but he finally figured out how to follow his own vision and stop feeling that everything he accomplished was his father’s doing. “With Freudian analysis I realized that making movies is my way to kill my father. In a way I make movies for—how can I say—the pleasure of guilt.” Attilio Bertolucci, who died in 2000, had to come to terms with the fact that in his son’s later films, somebody or something representing the elder Bertolucci inevitably was vanquished. “The funny line he gave me once was, ‘You’re very smart. You’ve killed me many times without going to jail.’”

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