Bernardo Bertolucci Says What We’re All Thinking: ‘Television Is Better Than Hollywood’

Bernardo Bertolucci, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind such classics as Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor, and Novecento, has pretty much said what we’re all thinking.

Modern television beats modern Hollywood, hands down. The American Academy honored the wheelchair-bound 73-year-old director on Monday night at an event in Rome.

In comments first reported by Reuters, Bertolucci said that TV was better casted and directed than modern American movies. “My generation had an affair with American culture, there’s no doubt about it. A street lamp and a fire hydrant made me sing in the rain. But the American films I like now do not come from Hollywood studios but from television series, like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Americans,” Bertolucci said in an interview following his acceptance speech.

If you’re curious, the director said he preferred the 13-episode format and compared them to novels printed in installments in 19th Century newspapers.

Bernardo Bertolucci said his fondness for film went back to the 1939 John Ford western Stagecoach, “and for me John Ford became Homer,” he said.

Continuing his love for the film, Bertolucci described being “in front of a full-length mirror” when he was 12, shortly after viewing the movie, “and what I was seeing … wasn’t me, it was John Wayne (Stagecoach star).”

As for today’s films, they just don’t have it. “Apart from a few independent productions, I think that everything that comes from Hollywood is generally sad. It makes me very sad,” he said.

Bertolucci’s last film was 2012’s Me and You, a film that, IMDb reveals, is about an introverted teenager, who tells his parents he is going on a ski trip, but instead spends his time alone in a basement.

(Yeah, guess we can see how he wouldn’t connect with films such as A Good Day to Die Hard or anything from director Michael Bay.)

So, do you agree with Bernardo Bertolucci — has American TV surpassed anything that Hollywood puts out?

[Image via cinemafestival /]