The cinematographer discussed his collaborations with director Bernardo Bertolucci, including The Conformist and The Last Emperor.
Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC, gave a talk to some 120 ASC members, associates and friends at AbelCine’s Brooklyn headquarters in New York on Tuesday, February 18. The cinematographer’s talk — entitled “Storaro and Bertolucci” — focused on the nine films he made with famed Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci as cinematographer, as well as the one Bertolucci feature that Storaro worked on as a camera assistant early in his career. Among their many collaborations was The Last Emperor, which earned Storaro an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
When Storaro first met Bertolucci, the director was just 22 years old. “I was shocked!” said Storaro, about the young director’s age. He shared that Bertolucci would come on set and look through his viewfinder in all directions. “Only when he had framed his shot could we set up. He was writing poetry with the camera. This was the main thing with Bernardo!”
Storaro also discussed the durability of film, the need to recondition prints that deteriorate over time and his current project to restore the Bertolucci films on which he worked.
Bertolucci, who was born in Parma, Italy, in 1942, died in Rome in November 2018. The local government in Parma is setting aside a property to serve as an archive of Bertolucci’s materials, which will include Storaro’s restored versions of his films.
Following the talk, a dinner was held for ASC members in honor of Storaro, which was hosted by ASC associate Pete Abel and attended by ASC members Edward Lachman, Declan Quinn, Tom Houghton, Vanja Černjul, Dejan Georgevich, Frederick Elmes, Jon Fauer and Frankie DeMarco, along with associate Barry Russo.
Society CEO Terry McCarthy was also in attendance, and he thanked AbelCine for hosting the event and pledged to expand the number of ASC events in New York, which is an increasingly vibrant center for film and television productions and home to some 40 ASC members and associates.