Carlo Ancelotti: the secret ringer who patched up Pasolini and Bertolucci

The legendary Italian filmmakers had fallen out but a football match between their respective projects Salò and Novecento in 1975 brought them back togetherLike any Sunday match worthy of the name, played in the park before a crowd that barely reached double figures including the dogs, on that March morning a couple of ringers had been drafted in last minute. But this was different: a special match and some ringer. Although no one knew who he was then and didn’t find out for 46 years, the kid called up that day, standing arms crossed at the edge of a forgotten photograph, now stands 90 rather more followed minutes from joining Paco Gento as the most successful man in European Cup history.It was Parma, the spring of 1975, and two films were being shot just a few miles apart: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 days of Sodom, and Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 (Novecento in Italian), starring Robert De Niro and Gérard Depardieu. Bertolucci had been Pasolini’s protege but he took exception to his mentor’s criticism of Last Tango in Paris and their relationship had soured. Which was when the actor Laura Betti suggested that, as they were using the same production company and filming so near, they could organise a match to bring them together: Novecento v Salò.