Books to Movies, Classics, The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff

Movie #497: Last Tango In Paris

February 12, 2011

I saw this film about a year ago but chose to watch it again for this list last night. What attracts me most about this movie is the fact that Marlon Brando is in it (thanks to my sister’s heavy influence to me regarding Brando’s existence) and for the fact that I like Maria Schneider’s fashion sense (and her hair) and because it’s a Bertolucci film.

A young Frenchwoman begins a sensual affair with a widowed, middle-aged American businessman whom lays out the grounds that they won’t reveal their names, talk about almost anything without providing any details about their identities in real life, and their relationship be mostly concentrated on sex. Marlon Brando (Streetcar Named Desire) plays the middle-aged american, Maria Schneider (The Passenger) plays Jeane, also stars Jean- Pierre Leaud (The 400 Blows) as Tom, Jeane’s artsy-actor boyfriend.

This film is unlikely famous because of the butter scene wherein Brando shoves in a chunkful of butter into Schneider’s rear in which she confesses in an interview that the scene was real, and that she felt raped and manipulated by both Bertolucci and Brando. But according to Brando’s autobiographer Patricia Bosworth’s book, he and Schneider remained friends until his death in July 2004. He thought of Schneider as a daughter-slash-sister(which I thought was a bit creepy especially in one scene wherein he was giving Jeane a bath) and they were said to have had a really good friendship.

I fell asleep towards the end but I watched it again though as I woke up. For art aficionados, Francis Bacon’s works are shown in the opening credits, too. For Paris enthusiasts, most of the scenes are centered on beautiful Parisian bridgewalks. For gore-lovers, there’s a scene wherein Brando talks to his dead wife and where the clean-up lady cleans the bathroom where his wife killed himself. For french-learning, english-speaking peeps, be sure to switch on the subtitles for english because most of the conversations (no matter how American Brando sounds like) are in french.


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