Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.
While looking for an apartment, Jeanne, a beautiful young Parisienne, encounters Paul, a mysterious American expatriate mourning his wife's recent suicide. Instantly drawn to each other, they have a stormy, passionate affair, in which they do not reveal their names to each other. Their relationship deeply affects their lives, as Paul struggles with his wife's death and Jeanne prepares to marry her fiance, Tom, a film director making a cinema-verite documentary about her. Written by
Erich Schneider <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When informed that director Ingmar Bergman had said that the film only made sense if it were about two homosexuals, Bernardo Bertolucci responded that he accepted all criticisms of his film as valid. See more »
In the final scene, as the camera pulls away from the balcony, you can clearly see a crew member and a lighting array reflected in the glass panel of the right balcony door. See more »
[with his hands over his ears at the overwhelming sound of a passing train]
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Maria Schneider's face summarises this film perfectly
Schneider's looks can dutifully encapsulate my true emotions to this film. Occasionally she looks sexy and encaptivating, other times she can look too pale and a little bland. That's exactly how Bertolucci's helping of sexual cravings had me feeling after this film.
Habitually, Bertolucci's work eclipses genius - he is one of the few directors in world cinema that has an eye for definitive detail. He can capture such beautiful images, with such great vision, emotion, colour and panache that the viewer's sentiments are guided like few others in film-making. Like aforementioned, Schneider's face would be the perfect simile for this particular film. One scene the viewer is startled by the raw depth of the film, although slightly troubled by the explicit sex, but then all the viewer is treated to in the next scene is a terse and awkward moment which seems to have no correlation with the one that preceded it.
Naturally Brando's performance did help boost this film greatly, but that seems the film's very weakness - whenever he is off-camera it seems to struggle too much, it loses its power and prestige and becomes a little incoherent. This film undoubtedly has some powerful and poignant scenes that really can convey genuine sentiment and exude a tangible originality too; but it never really seems to shake off the loss of Brando's presence altogether.
For admirers of Bertolucci its a must, but for more neutral cineastes it would be advisable to have a more cautious approach when watching this film - to enjoy it, it would be paramount to expect this film to be an edifying, not an entertaining experience; its not a frivolous subject matter in any sense
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