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>
According to Maria Schneider, the infamous "butter scene" was never in the script and it was improvised at the last minute by Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci, without consulting her. Bertolucci confirmed that during a press tour. He said he didn't tell Schneider that Brando's character would use butter as a lubricant in the film's rape scene "because I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress. I wanted her to react humiliated." The director's admission caused public outcry. Schneider told the Huffington Post "Marlon said to me: 'Maria, don't worry, it's just a movie,' but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn't real, I was crying real tears." She felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn't console me or apologize. Thankfully, there was just one take." See more »
When Jeanne disappears during her bridal gown fitting, Tom goes running down the street to find her in the pouring rain. As he gets about fifty feet from the camera he sudden runs into a section of the street that is dry and there is no rain coming down. He apparently ran past the maximum range of the rain making equipment they were using for the shot. 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cuts to dialogue during the scissors scene and a heavy reduction of the infamous sodomy scene, though the former was rescinded when it was decided that the cuts would be difficult to make without ruining the scene.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 »
Widely denounced as obscene upon its release and unjustifiably notorious for two of its scenes, Bernardo Bertolucci's 'Last Tango in Paris' is a savage story of lust and sexual debasement.
Marlon Brando delivers a ferocious performance as Paul, a middle-aged American expatriate tormented by his wife, Rosa's recent suicide, her infidelities and his failure to understand their relationship. In meeting a 20 year old girl, Jeanne, played by Maria Schneider, in an empty apartment, Paul hopes to form a relationship purely on his own terms and at his own pace, i.e. one he can understand fully. He insists on a new form of relationship, so basic that even their names were kept secret from each other, where she submitted to his every desire, where he could punish himself and relieve his despair and anger towards his wife by punishing Jeanne. Paul's only other interest is in Marcel (Massimo Girotti), Rosa's lover, for whom he has a curious respect and maybe a desire to obtain through him a better understanding of his own wife.
Despite his overpowering talent, Marlon Brando has often shown poor judgement in his choice of projects and has frequently trudged through films with no apparent effort or interest. In 'Last Tango in Paris' he gives everything and produces a performance of unrivalled force. Unfortunately the obvious improvisation in the film prevents the character of Paul from staying within check as he gradually becomes too much like Marlon Brando in the second half of the film. Nonetheless, when Brando is off-screen the film becomes hollow in comparison and is replaced by Jeanne's relationship with her fiance, an annoyingly pretentious TV director (Jean-Pierre Leaud).
This is a truly unique film and Bertolucci successfully highlights the romance in an affair that is fundamentally destructive. Brando's performance is remarkably powerful and intense, eclipsing every other player and dominating the entire film.
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