According to reports from Munich, Bernardo Bertolucci (who hasn't actually been around for as long as it seems - he's only 65) has announced plans for his first film since 2003's The Dreamers. His next project, though it is currently in very, very early stages, will be an adaptation of Ann Patchett's enchanting novel, Bel Canto. The book starts out as a tale of terrorism in a South American country, as all the attendees of a politician's party for a wealthy Japanese businessman are taken hostage. Instead of a story about terror and violence, though, it "slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots." Plus, there's a lot of opera.

Bertolucci, who is also writing the screenplay, seems like the perfect man to undertake this story. His films - good and bad - are almost always incredibly lyrical, and he's very skilled at creating emotionally-charged worlds that exist only for his characters (see, for example, both The Dreamers and a little picture called Last Tango in Paris). Patchett herself must be thrilled by this news.