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Last Tango In Paris

Last Tango In Paris – 1972

Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci (story)
Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay) and
Franco Arcalli (screenplay)
Agnès Varda (additional dialogue)

Alberto Grimaldi producer


Marlon Brando – Paul
Maria Schneider – Jeanne
Maria Michi – Rosa’s Mother
Giovanna Galletti – Prostitute
Gitt Magrini – Jeanne’s Mother
Catherine Allégret – Catherine
Luce Marquand – Olympia
Marie-Hélène Breillat – Monique
Catherine Breillat – Mouchette
Dan Diament – TV Sound Engineer
Catherine Sola – TV Script Girl
Mauro Marchetti – TV Cameraman
Jean-Pierre Léaud – Tom
Massimo Girotti – Marcel
Peter Schommer – TV Assistant Cameraman
Veronica Lazar – Rosa
Rachel Kesterber – Christine
Ramón Mendizábal – Tango Orchestra Leader
Mimi Pinson – President of Tango Jury
Darling Légitimus – Concierge
Gérard Lepennec – Dancer
Stéphane Koziak – Dancer
Armand Abplanalp – Prostitute’s Client
Laura Betti – Miss Blandish (scenes deleted)
Jean-Luc Bideau – Le capitaine de la péniche (scenes deleted)
Michel Delahaye – Bible Salesman (scenes deleted)
Gianni Pulone – (scenes deleted)
Franca Sciutto – (scenes deleted)

Review by Gary F Taylor

Last Tango In Paris (1972)
Brilliant Performances But Over-Rated As A Whole,

Brando is a middle-aged American whose wife has committed suicide; Schneider is a young European beauty seeking a sense of personal identity. The two meet by chance in an empty apartment–and immediately embark upon an anonymous affair in which Brando seeks to both purge and renew himself through Schneider.

Both stars offer intense performances, and director Bertolucci invests the film with numerous poetic and symbolic flourishes. The cinematography is elegant; the score is quite interesting. But when everything is said and done, LAST TANGO IN Paris is extremely thin stuff that relies on sexual shock to generate tension–and what was once shocking is now passe.

At the time TANGO was made, it was unthinkable that a major Hollywood star would appear in such a film… Yet by today’s standards, the nudity involved is quite mild, the sex scenes are surprisingly discreet, and the script is oddly naive. It all seems very tame.

Moreover, the film’s subplots slow the action to a crawl and the film as a whole has a self-conscious, faintly pretentious tone. Brando and Schneider, both separately and together, offer quite a few impressive moments, but you have to wade through a lot to get to them. Is it worth it? Difficult to say. Although I don’t regret having watched the film, I flatly state that I would not bother to watch it again. My recommendation: see it before you buy it, because one viewing may be quite enough.

Review by Jack Gattanella

Last Tango In Paris 1972)

Mysterious, provocative, masterful

Bernardo Bertolucci’s best film Last Tango in Paris is a film that is possibly the only X rated art film, unless you count out Midnight Cowboy and Clockwork Orange (I wouldn’t). It is a movie where even if you might know some of the cliches invented in the film (get the butter, for example), it is still thought provoking.

Marlon Brando, who is undoubtedly an excellent actor, shows off his stuff here and is so good it can be argued if he deserved the Oscar for the Godfather or this because both performances are extraordinary. He plays a man who’s wife had just commited suicide and decides to have a sexual binging in Paris with a young girl. The encounters aren’t a prostitutional type of thing, but rather a weird escape for the two of them from they’re lives (which is what they need).

Some might say the movie has aged with time and that the film’s sexuality might have depleted. Unless you are watching this film along side Black Throat, this film will seem like Porn (even if it’s a tad mild), for both generations. But if you can take it (the butter scene, for example, is actually more disturbing than sexually exciting), it makes the movie all the more better. Featuring classic scenes, with a classic actor, a classic director, and a classic motion picture. A++

Review by Zetes

Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)

My favorite film.,

This is my single favorite film. There has never been a film that has given me more to think about that this one.

But first let me clear one thing up: this was NEVER MEANT TO BE A LOVE STORY BETWEEN TWO GAY MEN EVER. I really despise when people say that. Why should people believe what someone said in the liner notes for the soundtrack? According to the British Film Institute Classics series, Bertolucci thought of the idea after he had a strong desire to make love to an anonymous woman in a room he had never been in before. That rumor arose when Ingmar Bergman said that the film only would work if Paul and Jean were both men. But why? Paul walks the line between two separate attitdes towards Jean: at some points he wants to torture her. he wants to punish her and all women. On the more positive side, he wants to teach her about life. Both of these attitudes stem from his wife’s betrayals and lies. He wants to punish and get revenge for what Rose did to him, but he also wants to prevent Jean from becoming like her. Both of these attitudes are extremely egotistical (Jean does call him an egoist). How would those attitudes even apply if Paul were sleeping with a man? It would be a completely different film. It may have been good also, but it would not work with the plot and themes of the film.

Now that that’s over with, I would like to praise brando, my god, for a while. This is his ultimate performance. He improvised a lot of his scenes. The scene where he talks to Rose’s dead body is possibly the best scene in all of film. He actually felt the emotions he portrayed. He seemed to feel them more intensely than a person could possibly feel.

I would also like to praise Maria Schneider and Jean-Pierre Leaud. Many people have complained that Maria Schneider is just standing there while Brando acts circles around her. This isn’t true. They also complain that her character has no character. She’s just meant to be naked and beautiful. The only reason people say this is that Jean hides her emotions a lot. Where Paul is looking at their relationship from a grave viewpoint, Jean sees it,initially, at least, as an adventure. She entirely accepts Paul’s advances when they first meet. She comes back for more. She’s sexually independent (she proves this by masturbating when he pays no attention to her), where Paul is wrapped up in the confusion he feels after his wife’s suicide. I love the little games she plays with Tom, her fiancee. “La marriage pop” is one of my favorite scenes. Leaud’s character is really funny. It’s a joke targeting the cineasts who gave him his career, Truffaut and Godard. His love for film is humorous, and gives us the excellent contrast between great fimmakers like Bertolucci and adequate ones like Godard.

Art isn’t about fun. It is more wonderful when it is emotionally painful, as the Bacon paintings introducing the film exhibit spectacularly. I absolutely love dancing with Paul and Jean. Sometimes, when I watch it, I’ll rewind the Last Tango scene and watch it four or five times. The dialogue is among the best ever written. And I am probably the only person who thinks the ending is perfect. I will not reveal it, but it simply illustrates that Jean was not willing to learn adulthood. Childhood was much more fitting. Kind of reminds me of most every other movie.

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