Cannes pays tribute to Bellocchio

Three days devoted to director who will get career Palme d'Or

(ANSA) - ROME, JUL 16 - The Cannes Film Festival is paying tribute to cult Italian engagé director Marco Bellocchio with a three-day event culminating in the presentation of a lifetime achievement award on Saturday, when the 74th edition of the iconic festival ends.
    On Thursday Bellocchio, 81, had a wide-ranging interview at a Cannes Rendez-Vous encounter, on Friday his new film Marx può aspettare (Marx Can Wait) will be screened, and on Saturday evening he will be given the rare accolade.
    Speaking at the Rendez-Vous, Belocchio said about his directorial journey: "I made some errors, but I'd probably make the exact same ones if I had to start again from zero. When I was 20, I wanted to be a poet. Then a painter, but for that I would have had to go to Rome, and I had been assured that it was a corrupt city. I did not want to make films like Woody Allen, to save myself from madness. Cinema is a blend of imagination and reality that has to be confronted through others. That's the challenge that has always a source of passion for me. There are obviously a lot of repetitive elements in this profession. But you have to accept it and make an effort because it's really very wonderful and fills you with a lot of energy." On his work with actors: As a child I wanted to be an actor. Fortunately I didn't become one. That would have been a catastrophe. Then I was lucky enough to film really good actors. If you don't choose the right ones, it's a problem! I'm someone peaceful on set. I don't like to scream. Michel Piccoli, for example, immediately understood his character and was able to provide a masterful interpretation. I didn't have anything more to say to him during filming.
    Mastroianni was able to express an entire page in only a few gestures. When an actor doesn't understand something, that can also be the fault of the director. But it's better if he immediately understands what he has to do.
    On his experience with Ennio Morricone and on the music of his films: I got to know Morricone thanks to a producer. He did the music for Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca). At the time, as was the case with most films, the sound and the dubbing of the actors were added during editing. I was a little like a child face-to-face with a major composer. He composed music that was very original and I accepted it. He was someone really precise.
    He composed for one scene, and not for another. And when someone took music from one scene and stuck it on another, he didn't like that. Directors can be egotistical. They prefer to work with young composers who will be available throughout the process rather than with a great musician who will compose and then move on to another project. I don't know much about music.
    But I believe that I understand when a musical suggestion is appropriate for such and such a scene. There are filmmakers who always use the same composer.
    On Michelangelo Antonioni and Robert Bresson: I wrote a thesis on how Antonioni and Bresson directed actors.
    Bresson took actors who were not professionals and demanded of them perfect memory. The text had to come out automatically.
    Antonioni had a lot more distance, taking a step back from his actors. He almost treated them as objects that he moved around to his liking. He was, in fact, criticized for that. Some actors rebelled against him, like Mastroianni, who sometimes followed his own path. Or like Jeanne Moreau, who was extremely disappointed with her encounters with him. Some actors like being directed closely. Others less so.
    'Marx può aspettare' attempts to make sense of his twin brother's suicide at the age of 29.
    Through this film with its enigmatic title, the filmmaker attempts to understand, humbly and retrospectively, his twin brother's suicide at the age of 29. A family tragedy that he has never really recovered from, both a source of guilt and inspiration. Blending excerpts from his films and conversations with people close to him, Bellocchio investigates this fraternal figure that never ceases to haunt his filmography.
    Bellocchio is to to get a career Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival on July 17, joining Jodie Foster as this year's two recipients of the honour.
    Bellocchio, 81, whose films include Fists in the Pocket, The Prince of Homburg, The Nanny, The Religion Lesson, Win, Dormant Beauty and The Traitor, will receive the award along with Foster on the final evening of the fest.
    The cult and engagé director will also present his latest work, Marx Can Wait, in the Cannes Premiere section of the fest.
    A friend of late cinema great Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bellocchio's other films include China is Near (1967), Sbatti il mostro in prima pagina (Slap the Monster on Page One) (1972), Nel Nome del Padre (In the name of the Father - a satire on a Catholic boarding school that shares affinities with Lindsay Anderson's If....) (1972), Victory March (1976), A Leap in the Dark (1980), Henry IV (1984), Devil in the Flesh (1986), and My Mother's Smile (2002), which told the story of a wealthy Italian artist, a 'default-Marxist and atheist', who suddenly discovers that the Vatican is proposing to make his detested mother a saint.
    In 1991 he won the Silver Bear - Special Jury Prize at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival for his film The Conviction.
    In 1995 he directed a documentary about the Red Brigades and the kidnapping of Aldo Moro, entitled Broken Dreams. In 2003, he directed a feature film on the same theme, Good Morning, Night.
    In 2006 his film The Wedding Director was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
    In 2009 he directed Vincere (Win), which was in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival. He finished Sorelle Mai, an experimental film that was shot over ten years with the students of six separate workshops playing themselves. He was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 68th Venice International Film Festival in 2011.
    His 2012 film Dormant Beauty was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.
    Bellocchio condemned the Catholic Church's interference in politics after the premiere of his latest controversial film, which was about a high-profile euthanasia and right-to-die case, involving Eluana Englaro. (ANSA).


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