An ambitious histroical epic, covering 70 years of life and social conflict in the Emilia region of Italy, “1900” had the misfortune of being released after Bertolucci made his masterpiece, “Last Tango in Paris,” which established him as one of the most gifted directors in world cinema.
The movie, which boasted a high caliber international cast, including Brando, Burt Lancaster, and Robert De Niro, caused controversy not only because of its explicit sexuality and graphic violence but also because of its unusual length.
The original cut, screened at the Cannes Film Festival, ran five and a half hours. After a heated dispute between the director and the film’s producer, Alberto Grimaldi, it was considerable pared down.
The short version was dismissed by most critics as incomprehensible. Years later, Bertolucci’s original cut was re-released, but this version was also panned by most critics.