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Last Tango in Paris (1972)
"Ultimo tango a Parigi" (original title)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  7 February 1973 (USA)
7.2
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 29,554 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 173 user | 92 critic | 6 from Metacritic.com

A young Parisian woman begins a sordid affair with a middle-aged American businessman who lays out ground rules that their clandestine relationship will be based only on sex.

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(story), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Last Tango in Paris (1972)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Maria Michi ...
Rosa's Mother / La mère de Rosa
Giovanna Galletti ...
Prostitute / La prostituée
Gitt Magrini ...
Jeanne's Mother / La mère de Jeanne
Catherine Allégret ...
Catherine (as Catherine Allegret)
Luce Marquand ...
Marie-Hélène Breillat ...
Monique (as Marie-Helene Breillat)
...
Mouchette
Dan Diament ...
TV Sound Engineer / L'ingénieur du son
Catherine Sola ...
TV Script Girl / La script-girl
Mauro Marchetti ...
TV Cameraman / Le cameraman
...
Tom - un cinéaste, le fiancé de Jeanne (as Jean-Pierre Leaud)
...
Marcel
Peter Schommer ...
TV Assistant Cameraman / L'assistant-opérateur
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Storyline

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 <erich@bush.cs.tamu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for some explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

7 February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Last Tango in Paris  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 2,704,423 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated) | (NC-17) | (original cut) | (DVD edition) |

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Almost ten years after its original release, United Artists re-released the film in 1982 with an R-Rating and not the infamous X rating it had obtained in 1972. The film was only a couple of minutes shorter than the preferred Director's cut. See more »

Goofs

When Paul and Jeanne are at the sinks together, she says, "I prefer to be a whore." Her lips do not move during that line. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Paul: [with his hands over his ears at the overwhelming sound of a passing train] Fucking GOD!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Day Today: Big Report (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Last Tango in Paris
(Tango)
Composed by Gato Barbieri
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User Reviews

 
A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Bertolucci's requiem for unrequited Love
1 May 2011 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris simultaneously mocks and mourns the human yearning for love and companionship. The movie is a requiem for unrequited love, and a testament to the proclivity of humans to surrogate love with lust when trapped in a maelstrom of despondence, chagrin, and compunction. Bertolucci's purpose is not to glorify carnality as a virtue or to scorn it as a vice, but is to use it as an instrument to authenticate the veritable existence of a dark, ugly, and bestial side of humanity, which is so often suppressed and hypocritically denied in similar works on the subject. Bertolucci's penchant for art is limitless and he uses it to full effect in order to give the movie an aesthetic feel while simultaneously catering to the movie's explorative, earthy, and unconventionally bold motifs. Bertolucci uses his characters uncannily as a medium to foray into unexplored realms of human psyche while unflinchingly projecting them as objects of desire, disgust and depravity. Bertolucci pushes Brando and Schneider to a limit where they are not only forced to compromise their egos but also relinquish their pride, and I say that not as an offence but as an appreciation for his talent as a movie-maker. Renowned film critic Pauline Kael bestowed the film with the most ecstatic endorsement of her career, writing, "Tango has altered the face of an art form. This is a movie people will be arguing about for as long as there are movies." American director Robert Altman expressed unqualified praise: "I walked out of the screening and said to myself, 'How dare I make another film?' My personal and artistic life will never be the same." Eminent critic Roger Ebert has added the film to his "Great Movies" collection.

The movie presents an episode in the lives of two loners residing in Paris: Paul, a recently widowed, middle-aged American businessman, and Jeanne, a young, voluptuous, soon-to-be-married Parisian girl. The two accidentally meet up in an empty apartment available for rent, and a steamy affair ensues between the two on strictly anonymous basis. Paul is very discreet about his identity and whereabouts and even cajoles Jeanne to religiously follow the protocol. Paul sees Jeanne as a carnal surrogate for his deceased wife, while Jeanne finds in Paul a lover which her fiancé could never become. The two continue to meet and serve each other at regular intervals while also going about their regular business. Their sexually charged up affair, despite a disconnect at the emotional level, satiates them both beyond expectations, and resonates to the viewer an ineffable sense of frenzy and euphoria that holds him in a vice-like grip for the entire length of the movie. The dramatically botched, anti-climactic ending of the movie, which has been snubbed by critics, still manages to testify the axiomatic consistency of change in packing a punch stronger than the modern-day gimmicks.

Marlon Brando gives an inciteful, poignant, tour de force performance as the reclusive widower. Many people called Brando a chameleon, but I would call him a chameleon who hated his camouflage; a prodigy who detested his talent; a narcissist who abhorred himself for being a mortal. Brando as Paul is a cross between a sadist and a masochist. He uses every ounce of his talent to conjure up his menacing alter-ego. Driven by guilt and chagrin, Paul's sociopathic self is a nightmare for those around him. Roger Ebert wrote about Brando's performance: "It's a movie that exists so resolutely on the level of emotion, indeed, that possibly only Marlon Brando, of all living actors, could have played its lead. Who else can act so brutally and imply such vulnerability and need?" The scene in which Paul confronts the dead body of his wife, who has committed suicide, is probably the most powerful scene ever filmed in cinema. It not only depicts the complexities associated with Paul's character but also highlights the dichotomy he suffered owing to his dual emotions of rage and grief.

Maria Schneider is innocent, charming, voluptuous and pitiful in her portrayal of Jeanne, a Parisian girl whose life is devoid of true love. Schneider, being fully aware of her limitations as an actor, incredibly manages to give a performance that is singular and effective enough not to be adumbrated by Brando's sublime, over-the-top portrayal.

The cinematography of the movie is vivid, elaborative, and expressive and is well complemented by the movie's sensuously evocative background score.

PS. Last Tango in Paris is a profoundly disturbing case-study of human emotions and is a must for cineastes worldwide, but can only be savoured by eschewing bigotry, prejudice, and conservatism. 9/10

http://www.apotpourriofvestiges.com/


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