The Horse’s Ass As Aesthetic Gauge

Bernardo BertolucciIn the German newspaper Die Welt, Siegfried Tesche speaks with filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci, whose latest film Me and You just started its run in Germany, about movie-making and a range of other subjects (If you have German, read the interview here). One of the subjects under discussion is Sergio Leone, with whom Bertolucci had wanted to work very much. Here’s  Bertolucci recollection:

“In the sixties Sergio Leone was one of the few Italian directors who I really liked. In those days they only made comedies which I hated, and thus I didn’t have any work. I just couldn’t raise the money to make a movie. I was dreaming about writing a Western.  One day, when I was once again completely broke, Leone called me up and I went to meet him. He asked me: ‘I saw you at the premiere of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Why were you there?’ I told him that he was one of the few directors whose movies I liked. Then he asked me again: ‘Why do you like my movies.’ I was telling myself, you need money, so give a reasonable answer. So I said: ‘I love how you show horses’ asses — bad directors always only show horses in profile. It is very simple to show a beautiful horse sideways, but very few, only you and John Ford, stay with the camera outside the saloon, and then you show the giant upper thighs of the horse.’ To which he answered: ‘You can write my movies.'”

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