PARIS — Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci has agreed to become the first “sponsor” of the Intl. Critics’ Week (May 11-19) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The move marks the latest step in the fest sidebar’s attempts to raise its profile under the new stewardship of Jose Maria Riba.
Bertolucci’s international career took off following the presentation of “Before the Revolution” in the Critics’ Week of 1964.
Cannes attendees will get a chance to see a special screening of the pic at this year’s fest in the company of the film’s director and the other helmers selected for the sidebar.
Bertolucci has also agreed to host a workshop in which the Critics’ Week directors will share an exchange of views with the man responsible for such films as “The Last Tango in Paris,” “1900,” “The Last Emperor” and “Stealing Beauty.”
The Italian director is no stranger to Cannes, although he has never won a Palme d’Or. In 1976 “1900” appeared out of competition, while in 1990 Bertolucci presided over the fest jury. In 1981 Ugo Tognazzi took best actor for his performance in the director’s “The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man.”
Riba, who took over the sidebar last June, has been doing his best to spruce up the Critics’ Week, hunting out new indie filmmakers from the U.S. and Latin America, among other things. Joyce Pierpoline in New York and Jean Darrigol will seek to develop contacts with young directors, while Cathy Rivera is on the lookout for Latin American pics.