“The Echo Chamber,” the unfinished project that Italian great Bernardo Bertolucci was working on before his unexpected death last month, is to be brought to the big screen by Italy’s Indigo Film.
Nicola Giuliano, a founding partner of Indigo (“The Great Beauty”), confirmed that the chamber piece would be produced as a tribute to Bertolucci’s artistic vitality. The project would have marked Bertolucci’s first time back in the director’s chair since his 2012 coming-of-age drama, “Me and You.” Giuliano said that a new helmer for the film had not yet been chosen.
Bertolucci, who died on Nov. 26 in Rome after a short bout with cancer, had completed a first draft of the screenplay, which he co-wrote with two young Italian writers: Ludovica Rampoldi, whose credits include hit series “Gomorrah,” and Ilaria Bernardini, a novelist who has worked on the Italian adaptation of “In Treatment.”
Very little is known about “The Echo Chamber” except that the narrative alternates between two characters in a three-room house, sources say. The story reportedly takes its cue from a news item that had stoked Bertolucci’s desire to get back behind the camera. The confined setting of “The Echo Chamber” is similar to that of “Me and You,” which Bertolucci shot mostly in a basement around the corner from his Rome residence.
Before his death, the 77-year-old director had been in a wheelchair for years because of back trouble.
Italians have been mourning the artist whose epic “The Last Emperor” won nine Oscars and who influenced generations of filmmakers with groundbreaking works such as “The Conformist” and “Last Tango in Paris.” Last week, hundreds of fans filed past an open casket in the Sala della Protomoteca room on Rome’s Capitoline Hill to salute the maestro, who lay dressed in a dark suit and sneakers.
On Thursday evening, Bertolucci will be commemorated at an event at Rome’s Teatro Argentina. Many international talents are expected to make the trek to the Eternal City, including Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Debra Winger, Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmush, Amos Gitai and longtime Bertolucci producer Jeremy Thomas, sources say.
Martin Scorsese and John Malkovich are among those expected to send video tributes. The event, which has been titled “Au revoir bb,” is being organized by Bertolucci’s wife, Clare Peploe and three friends – actor Francesco Siciliano, editor Jacopo Quadri, and journalist, author and poet Giovanni Mastrangelo – in collaboration with the Teatro di Roma national theater.