Ultimo Tango a Parigi - Last Tango in Paris

"Go get the butter." Paul

"Go get the butter." Paul

☆ Masterpiece 


Ultimo Tango a Parigi - Last Tango in Paris (1972) is a towering tribute to the devastatingly honest and raw emotional performances.


Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.


Starring Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider and Maria Michi among others.


Watching Last Tango in Paris is difficult emotionally, because from the start Bernardo makes it clear that we are on an emotional train wreck. Bertolucci said that the idea for the film came from sexual fantasies: "I once dreamed of seeing a beautiful nameless woman on the street and having sex with her without ever knowing who she was". Bernardo was also inspired by Francis Bacon's paintings.

It's interesting to me what Bertolucci, Brando, Schneider later said of their experiences.
Bertolucci in speaking of Brando stated that "I had so identified myself with Brando that I cut it out of shame for myself. To show him naked would have been like showing me naked". Bernardo was referring to a scene that showed Brando's genitals. Bertolucci later in speaking of Schneider said, " I stole her youth," and, "The girl wasn't mature enough to understand what was going on." and lastly, "I feel guilty, but I don't regret it." As for Brando, he stated  "felt raped and manipulated" and,  "I was completely and utterly violated by you. I will never make another film like that." Schneider stated,  "ruined her life," and, that she considers Bertolucci a "gangster and a pimp." So, what is going on here I asked myself after watching the film and reading what the participants said about their experiences during filming. I think they all exposed themselves so utterly raw and honestly emotionally that they were not prepared for the consequences that followed. I can clearly see Bertolucci uses Brando in his place, since it was his sexual dream that gave the creative birth to the film. I can see Brando feeling the remorse of exposing himself emotionally even more than in A Streetcar Named Desire (1950). What I find truly amazing is how protective and yet vulnerable he was in all his scenes with Maria. Never once did Marlon take advantage of the situation. I can see Maria being way too young and inexperienced emotionally to deal with such a difficult role. I can see that Maria worshipped and fell madly and deeply in love with Brando during and after filming. Schneider was lucky to have had a mature and experienced Brando as her scene partner and mentor. As an actor your first priority is to protect emotionally your scene partner and vice versa.

In the scene below watch Brando let loose emotionally. For me the most beautiful moment was when he used the funeral flowers to remove his dead wife's lipstick. A tour de force performance that Bertolucci wisely kept simple, so as to let Marlon expose himself emotionally.



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Trivia - The "Butter Scene" was improvised by Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci without Maria Schneider's knowledge. Her tears are real, but not the act.


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Note - If you would like to view Ultimo Tango a Parigi - Last Tango in Paris to rent or buy please click on the link below the comments. It is sponsored by Google, so it is the safest and most secure way to get a copy for your film library.