BESIEGED
1998, Fine Line Features, 93 min, Italy, Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci

Bertolucci sets the epic sweep of 1900 and THE LAST EMPEROR aside for this chamber piece in which African refugee Shandurai (Thandie Newton) takes a job working for the reclusive Mr. Kinsky (David Thewlis) in Rome. As employee and employer become attracted to one another, Bertolucci uses their relationship to comment on a wide array of issues having to do with all forms of denial and awakening in both a personal and political sense.


THE SHELTERING SKY
1990, Warner Bros., 138 min, Italy, Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci

Kit (Debra Winger) and Port (John Malkovich) journey to the Sahara as "travelers," not "tourists" - they make the distinction because they see tourists as seeking the comforts of home wherever they go, whereas Kit and Port want adventure. As their vacation progresses, however, it becomes clear that what they're really in search of is the love they used to have. Stunning landscape photography by Vittorio Storaro and career-best performances by Malkovich and Winger make this a must-see masterpiece.


1900
1976, Paramount, 245 min, Italy, Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci

Bertolucci tells the story of the first half of the 20th-century through the lives of a pair of friends born on the same day, one a peasant (Gerard Depardieu) and one an aristocrat (Robert De Niro). As the friends grow up and grow apart, their experiences encompass the changing political and economic climate of Italy, and of Europe as a whole. Donald Sutherland and Burt Lancaster also star in this stunning combination of the intimate and the epic.


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