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Stars besiege Bertolucci bow

DGA theater contains smoldering love story

Bernardo Bertolucci could not make the L.A. premiere of his latest film, “Besieged,” Monday at the Directors Guild of America theater, but that didn’t keep guests from turning out to see the smoldering love story released by Fine Line. Party took place at Spago in BevHills and was a benefit for the Artists’ Rights Foundation and the Film Foundation.

The acclaimed director of “Last Tango in Paris” and “Stealing Beauty” was recovering from back surgery, but his wife and pic’s co-writer, Clare Peploe, was on hand. The screenplay, based on a story by James Lasdun, is told largely through music, not dialogue. Peploe feels the story is really about how “sacrifice can actually free you.”

“The sheer romantic power” is what hopefully will move auds, as will the romantic notion of having to make the “choice between love and loyalty,” said Fine Line topper Mark Ordesky.

Pic’s stars Thandie Newton (“Beloved”) and David Thewlis (“Naked”) were out of town shooting new projects and could not join the low-key, high-wattage crowd that included Sharon Stone, Anjelica Huston and husband Robert Graham, Joan Chen, who starred in Bertolucci’s Eastern epic “The Last Emperor,” Kelly Preston, James Coburn, Lauren Holly, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Lynn Redgrave, Deborah Kara Unger and Tony Curtis.