It’s almost comforting to know that in a town where development hell is part of the landscape, even Bernardo Bertolucci is not immune to its deceptively seductive siren song. Speaking in English at a press reception for Cinema Italian Style at the Sunset Tower Hotel on Nov. 13, the newly anointed godfather of Italian filmmaking told those assembled that he “once spent six months in Los Angeles for a movie that never happened.” Stranger still was Bertolucci’s “Last Emperor” being screened in 3D recently as part of AFI Fest, pairing a director and a format previously unimaginable. That it was shown at the TCL Chinese Theatre was something he almost apologized for: “It was difficult to avoid.”
But for unadulterated honesty, it was hard to beat director Paolo Sorrentino, whose “The Great Beauty” is Italy’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar. “I’ve been talking about my movie for three years so I have no more words,” he admitted. “What does the Oscar represent for you?” asked one media member. “I think very far from me,” Sorrentino responded wearily. “What does it mean to NOT win the Oscar,” asked another, changing tacks. “I don’t know exactly what will change or not change because this is the first time I’ve participated.” OK, will people finally stop talking about Oscars now?