Martin Scorsese Says Bernardo Bertolucci ‘Inspired’ and ‘Opened Many Doors’ for Him

“I was truly stunned and moved by the level of sheer artistry and talent up there on the screen,” director says

Last Updated: November 27, 2018 @ 1:58 PM

Martin Scorsese says that Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian director who passed away Monday, both “inspired” and “opened many doors” for him as a director.

In the wake of Bertolucci’s death, Scorsese said in a statement that he first saw Bertolucci’s 1964 film “Before the Revolution” and came out of the theater “in a daze, speechless.”

“I was truly stunned and moved by the level of sheer artistry and talent up there on the screen, I was shocked by the freedom of the picture, I was somewhat mystified by so many of the cultural references and cross-references, and, as someone who wanted to make films, I was inspired,” Scorsese said.

He also applauded Bertolucci’s “The Conformist,” “Last Tango in Paris,” “The Last Emperor” and “The Sheltering Sky” as films that had a profound influence on Hollywood filmmaking and even reinvented historical epics.

Scorsese also noted that it saddened him to see Bertolucci in a wheelchair in the late stages of his life, presuming that the late director desired to make many more films.

“When I think of him, I will always see an eternally young man,” Scorsese added.

In 2010, the two directors attended a Gucci dinner for the restoration of Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita,” as seen in the photo above.

Read Scorsese’s full statement below:

“In 1964, I went up to Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for the 2nd New York Film Festival to see a new film from Italy. It was called ‘Before the Revolution’ and it was by a young director named Bernardo Bertolucci. I came out of the theater in a daze, speechless. I was truly stunned and moved by the level of sheer artistry and talent up there on the screen, I was shocked by the freedom of the picture, I was somewhat mystified by so many of the cultural references and cross-references, and, as someone who wanted to make films, I was inspired. ‘Before the Revolution’ opened many doors for me, and for many other young filmmakers as well. And Bertolucci kept on opening doors–with ‘The Conformist,’ which had a profound influence on Hollywood moviemaking; with ‘Last Tango in Paris,’ an explosive cultural event; with ‘The Last Emperor’ and ‘The Sheltering Sky,’ which reinvented the historical epic.

When I think of Bertolucci–the man, the artist–the word that comes to mind is refinement. Yes, he was flamboyant and provocative, but it was the mellifluousness and the grace with which he expressed himself, and his deep understanding of his own history and culture, that made his filmmaking and his presence so special, so magical.

Bernardo was in a wheelchair for the last years of his life, and it was extremely difficult for him to get around. It saddened all of us who knew him, because he had so much more that he wanted to do, and probably so many more films to make. When I think of him, I will always see an eternally young man.”