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 <email@example.com>
The idea of this movie grew from director Bernardo Bertolucci's own sexual fantasies, stating that he "once dreamed of seeing a beautiful nameless woman on the street and having sex with her, without ever knowing who she was." 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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For its original UK cinema release the BBFC suggested cuts to dialogue during the scissors scene and a heavy reduction of the infamous sodomy scene, though the former was rescinded when it was decided that the cuts would be difficult to make without ruining the scene. Instead a proposed cut of 20 secs was required to the sodomy scene to remove shots of Paul smearing butter on Jeanne's buttocks and some overhead shots of sexual thrusting. The latter was also waived following an appeal from the director and instead a mere 10 sec cut was made to the butter smearing. When the OPA (Obscene Publications Act) was extended to cover films a few years later BBFC censor James Ferman waived the cinema cut, and all post-1978 releases (including TV showings) have been the fully uncut version. See more »
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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