I had Bernardo Bertolucci a special love relationship with the Festival of San Sebastián. He came to him many times. The first, in 1976, to support the young Spanish democracy along with other European filmmakers, with its dazzling film Novecento
He was already an admired author after having seen The conformist, The last Tango in Paris or The strategy of the spider. But then, in the Venice Mostra, the animosity professed by the Italian critics of his country who kicked with fury his beautiful and complex film was exposed Moon, even before the press screening ended, a situation that I took advantage of to abandon the criticism for life (though, it was only for the first time). I met Bertolucci then, thanks in particular to his faithful friend Chema Prado [que fue director de la Filmoteca ESpañola]. He had a clairvoyant intelligence and a great good humor. It was easy to be dazzled by him and more when he treasured our festival as something of his own, taking to him some of his films as a gift, like the then unpublished first hour of The last Emperor, or the world premiere of Besieged in 1998, his latest masterpiece, among other films. He never wanted to be a juror and we did not forgive him completely, since he was from other festivals. No surfer, we can not forget the many attentions he had with ours.
When at the opening ceremony of 1996 he was willing to appear on stage to present his film Stolen beauty A group of protesters came forward to express their support for the Basque political prisoners. Once the waters calmed down, Bertolucci's turn came at last and he calmly addressed the audience praising the festival. "This one from San Sebastian breathes cinema on all four sides because we've just seen something similar to the beginning of Senso, Luchino Visconti's film in which some protesters interrupted the performance of the opera by throwing pamphlets from the upper floors ", and then said that there would be many films that would be like Padrón peppers, some of them sting and others not. And thus resolved the tension.
Being sick, he was still determined to shoot a new movie, although the forces did not accompany him anymore. I do not know when he abandoned the project; he was chased by many stories and always, I suppose, through his demanding style, of creative images with which he has composed a mosaic of our time and love of cinema. "There is no love, there is only proof of love," he repeated, emulating Jean Cocteau in several of his films. And so he proved it.