With great films such as The Conformist and Last Tango in Paris, Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci drew rave reviews in the face of controversy, the former for its politics and the latter for its X-rated eroticism. But with his 1979 melodrama, Luna, in which an American opera singer has an incestuous relationship with her drug-addicted son, Bertolucci took a critical drubbing. Vincent Canby of the New York Times called the film, “the work of a good poet on an absolutely terrible day.” Bertolucci thinks critics missed the humor in Luna, among other things.
I spoke with the great auteur in 1979 in Chicago during a rare promotional tour for him. You can hear our chat on the latest episode of Sachs and the Cinema, on Spotify and other platforms. And subscribe to the podcast here.