Director concerned film may be cut in U.S.

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

— Oscar-winning director Bernardo Bertolucci is worried that his sexually explicit new film "The Dreamers" might be cut in the United States out of concern it is too graphic for American audiences.

The film, presented Monday at the Venice Film Festival, is about three college students in 1968 Paris who engage in a claustrophobic love affair.

Bertolucci said his U.S. distributor, Fox Searchlight, was concerned the film might get the dreaded NC-17 rating, which is the equivalent of an X-rating and typically reduces audiences considerably.

"The film risks coming out in the United States amputated and mutilated," the Italian director said. "Perhaps someone thinks that the U.S. public is too immature to see this."

Efforts to reach Fox Searchlight for comment were unsuccessful when calls to its Los Angeles offices went unanswered on the Labor Day holiday.

The American co-star, Michael Pitt, said explicit shots shouldn't be an issue.

"They're not going to be given the opportunity to be offended, which I'm offended by," he said.

Youth is at the center of "The Dreamers," which tells the story of a young American student (Pitt) who moves in with a Parisian brother and sister whose wild lifestyle changes him. The love triangle is framed by their obsession with movies -- but is initially untouched by the social uprising that shook Europe in 1968.

The director, whose 1986 film "The Last Emperor" won nine Oscars, has faced controversy before over sexually charged films. His 1972 work "Last Tango in Paris," starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, initially had distribution trouble and ended up a critical success.