Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

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Dr. Snaut
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:53 pm

Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci, 1972)

#51 Post by Dr. Snaut » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:09 am

Dylan - Do you mean the current special edition of Tango? Or is there another re-release on DVD in the works based on a "new print"?

Although not perfect, the Region 1 DVD is quite acceptable.

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Dylan
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci, 1972)

#52 Post by Dylan » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:08 am

I remember reading on this forum not too long ago that an SE will be released later this year. The 1998 DVD looks decent enough, but does not equal the print I saw in the theater.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci, 1972)

#53 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:39 am

Dylan-- I've seen the film many times in just about every venue: I saw it in arthouse cinema on revival, on tv, and on my old VHS. So yep I've seen it in glorious widescreen, and Storaro's work on this film is-- as it is in almost everything he's done-- breathtaking. And as is usual for Storaro's use of ligthing, movement and framing, the camera work in the movie enriches the movie (as it almost always does in movies shot by him in his prime) with a fabulous sense of depth. It proves that Storaro never engages in pictorialism for its own sake (I've heard it said La Conformista was merely a series of shots insearch of a movie-- also heard that it was pure style in search of subtsance... neither of which I agree with: I think Conformist is a masterpiece plain and simple)... I think his work here in this film is quite a bit subdued, at least versus the bulk of the rest of his work with BB.

Know beyond all things that I, when in my twenties and early thirties, was a disciple of Brando-- it started I guess when I was in my late teens and I discovered his performance in Streetcar at precisely the same time that I went through a stint of acting. To me Brando was like a god or something-- Tango, Streetcar, Apocalypse, Waterfront, Godfather, The Men, Viva Z, almost everything the guy did I loved.. he could light up mediocre material and even save a bad film, even if only for the few moments (The Formula) that he crackled up there on the screen with his electricity.The man had enough natural charisma to illuminate several cities, all with their own superdomes.

I'm zeroing in on Brando because my problem with the film stems from his performance, and the room temperature of his presence in each scene that he appears. I used to see the film as an excellent rendering of the torment resident in every strong, sensitive, self-aware male, the agony of the process of 'being', for the finer mind, the man who outwardly may have once ruled the coop as a social & sexual conqueror but inwardly is going completely to pieces, who in all actuality never was in one piece.. has been shattered since the crib-- a real piece of psychological reality, a brave warts and all exhibition of the fears, weakness, and power of A Man... in this case a Man In Decline. Back then the movie was significant because (never mind the sex) of the kind of man it seemed to portray, the kind of vibe he carried-- he was intelligent, he was handsome, he stood apart, he was cool, he was cultured, he was sexually powerful, he was socially acceptable to the bourgeoise (at least he physically looked that way), yet he thought life and the world were a bunch of meaningless shit... and he was NOT a hippie. In essence, a grown up James Dean.. complete with the brokenhearted vulnerability. An iconographical image, however.

My problem with the film now is precisely that-- I think Brando is playing Brando the celebrity, not a normal human being. Celebrity rental in a shabby hotel, celebrity flirting, celebrity "go fetch me the butter", celebrity "YOU CUNT!!!" under the subway el, etc. The way he strides through the film like a tsar or a prince or a bishop, strutting and bullshitting and condescending to everybody, it reads alternately riveting and ridiculous. Some of the scenes where he breaks down remain genuinely moving. Some of the scenes are genuinely cool & give me a jivey chuckle. But many of the scenes to me require you to buy into Brando's star power-- if you don't you'd simply look at the guy and say "..this guy for real?" And even though I mostly enjoy buying into Brandos star power (he had oodles), I still have to confess pure star power is not 'character'. Late in his career Brando could get lazy and lean heavily on his star power... he knew it was a powerful commodity and that it could carry him quite a ways through all of his performances, being used to greater and lesser degrees in each. Know however that this is a facade, this supercharismatic man who knows when all eyes are on him, admiring the badass walking statue-- like a hustler on the street working a mark, turning the bullshit on and off for effect.

The wind up is I see Paul as a thin, hugely uneven character in a film that's trying to nudge a greater meaning out of him in combination with the surroundings and the mise en scene. Some scenes are great in that you see Brando airing out some of his inner demons and really letting his guts flow. But they seem so completely "Brando" they almost feel like mawkish moments of rumination between takes.

nycmagus
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#55 Post by nycmagus » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:48 pm

To my dear friend David Hare whom I have not spoken to in ages:

Bertolucci did make his great gay movie and it is LAST TANGO IN PARIS. He also killed the queer impulse in his work in its crib right after delivering it, but then nobody's perfect.

In fact, LAST TANGO is one of the great queer movies of the 1970's -- that brief period when queer cinema almost took off (CRUISING is the stake-in-the-heart delivered in 1980). By many standards, LTIP is a failure -- Bertolucci melded the traditions of European and American cinema and the result was lumpy -- he would become much better at it in subsequent films as he learned to smooth the product -- lessening the queerness, but increasing its viability, appeal and stylishness.

But the failure of LTIP in certain areas produced a successful work of queer art -- the queer art of failure as Judith/Jack Halberstam would have it (Visconti could never bring himself to fail in this particular fashion -- instead he threw fabulous Romantic Modernist funerals for aesthetic traditions he knew should not outlive him).

To read the feelings expressed on this site and others across the Web about LTIP is to read of deep engagement with a film that both satisfies and disappoints, as it promises certain things and delivers others. Here is a film whose look was based on the paintings of Francis Bacon -- how queer can you get -- about hetero sex -- but whose first sexual encounter is a representation of a gay pick-up par excellence. The movie refuses to settle down and cohere in the prescribed fashion -- it will not in other words die (until the final scene when Bertolucci reneges on all that has come up until then). Nor will it behave the way a film up until that time was supposed to -- just as you and I and many more refused to behave, but still managed to produce a (new) coherence.

Jonathan Dollimore ("Desire, Death, and Loss in Western Culture") writes: “If in homoerotic writing we find insightful contemporary explorations of the Western preoccupation with convergence of desire and death, we also find a compelling alternative to it” For Dollimore, the promiscuous sexual encounter allows for “simultaneous identification and disidentification, which, together, may then involve a re-identification--ceasing to be the fixed, tyrannized subject” and so, contra Leo Bersani, the rectum is not a grave.

For 127 minutes, Bertolucci promiscuously plays around with Dollimore's alternative -- mating Classical Hollywood with the New Wave and envisioning queer sex among heteros -- LTIP is the least anxious movie he ever made. That Bertolucci retreats in the film's last two minutes -- that he fails to maintain his failure -- that "Paul" is the name that dare not speak itself -- is forgivable when understood in light of all the queer wonder that came before.

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david hare
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#56 Post by david hare » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:46 pm

Blimey, hello Brian! PM me if you get a chance.

Will try to comment later Ive just given Force Majeure a serve of bile.


oh yeah
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#58 Post by oh yeah » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:01 pm

Bertolucci can go fuck himself. He seems to have no regret for his actions, simply because it (supposedly) aided in producing Great Art. He reads like a parody here of the demanding, cold, amoral, pretentious artiste. Except it's not funny, just disgusting. It would not be a huge exaggeration to say that he ruined Maria's life. And he wonders why she hated him forever after?

All the insightful and eloquent thoughts in this thread about beautiful lighting and framing and acting just read as poison to me now. This film is toxic.

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Cremildo
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#59 Post by Cremildo » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:06 pm

Lack of work ethics and abuse of trust of an actress, no doubt. But now ravenous SJWs like Jessica Chastain are shaming people who like the film because it has a "real rape" scene. Give me a break. Schneider herself admitted the whole thing was simulated. It's one thing to criticize Bertolucci and Brando for their crassness - perhaps even abuse - and another altogether to say they committed a crime as hideous as rape.

I suggest Americans who own it on DVD or Blu-ray to treasure their copies and maybe hide them, because the PC outrage brigade will certainly ban the film from stores now.
Last edited by Cremildo on Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#60 Post by The Narrator Returns » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:11 pm

I'd say the PC Police taking my Blu-Ray of Last Tango in Paris is the least of my problems at this point.
Last edited by The Narrator Returns on Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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domino harvey
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#61 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:24 pm

Probably worth reading Schneider's own take on the matter before getting out the pitchforks on her behalf

oh yeah
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#62 Post by oh yeah » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:28 pm

domino harvey wrote:Probably worth reading Schneider's own take on the matter before getting out the pitchforks on her behalf
Thanks for posting that, but I don't see anything in there that really clashes with the picture Bertolucci has painted.

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Big Ben
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#63 Post by Big Ben » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:41 pm

I didn't even like the film before Bertolucci came out and said this so nothing of value has really been lost to me. I have however lost respect for Bertolucci entirely. Oshima did it better anyway.

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Brian C
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#64 Post by Brian C » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:11 pm

It's amusing in a dark way that this is a BIG STORY now. Schneider herself told this exact story (which domino links to above) years ago and no one cared. Some posters were making fun of her for it in this very thread. Now Bernardo validates her story and all over the web it's all OUTRAGE!!!

Gimme a break. All it means is that no one gave a shit about her side of the story when she told it.

oh yeah
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#65 Post by oh yeah » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:48 pm

Well I'm sure that's true of some people but speaking for myself, I wasn't aware of what Maria said in 2007. And I also think it's somehow more shocking in this clip with Bertolucci because 1) the way he describes it makes it sound like even more of a violation, even worse, than how Maria described it, and 2) somehow hearing it from the director/perpetrator's lips makes it more "shocking" or "newsworthy" perhaps? I don't know. The second point shouldn't be the case of course, but it seems indeed that many people just shrugged Maria off as a druggy has-been, whereas they're willing to listen to anything this man, this Important Director, has to say. I dunno, though. The whole situation is just sickening.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#66 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:57 pm

The L.A. Times obituary for her in 2011 quoted that entire section from her 2007 interview too. I guess it's now an outrage because of 1) Bertolucci's choice of words and 2) more people are far more sensitive of any potential sexual assault or rape (see Cosby).

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Luke M
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#67 Post by Luke M » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:48 am

I think what bothers me most is Brando's complicity. For better or worse, it's not terribly hard to demonize Bertolucci, but Brando is on the Mt. Rushmore of acting.

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Brian C
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#68 Post by Brian C » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:58 am

Yeah, who could have ever guessed that Brando could be a real shit sometimes.

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A man stayed-put
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#69 Post by A man stayed-put » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:01 am

Some of the reaction to this (Chastain, Evans, every other Twitter user etc.) seems to be on the basis that there was an actual rape committed on set and I can't work out whether it's due to them genuinely misunderstanding what happened or wilfully trying to sensationalise something that was pretty repugnant and unprofessional anyway, but nowhere near to the extent suggested.
I know the sexual element is seen as key but directors/actors improvising or using surprise tactics to elicit a reaction without the actors consent is hardly unprecedented- guns being fired on set, people being slapped. Anyone who's ever watched a classic WB montage will have seen film historians guffawing at Cagney doing his grapefruit trick on Mae Clarke.
I'm not defending this or saying it wasn't unpleasant but can't understand the level of some of the reactions (never mind that, as has been stated previously in the thread, Schneider talked openly about it years ago).

worriedfire
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#70 Post by worriedfire » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:40 am

To compare having a grapefruit slapped in the face and having ones anus penetrated is just beyond me. There are boundaries for what's to be considered OK in terms of surprise tactics. This is not OK.

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Cremildo
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#71 Post by Cremildo » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:54 am

worriedfire wrote:To compare having a grapefruit slapped in the face and having ones anus penetrated is just beyond me. There are boundaries for what's to be considered OK in terms of surprise tactics. This is not OK.
Are you suggesting Schneider actually had her anus penetrated in the scene? I think you missed the part where she said what Brando was doing wasn't real. It was simulated.

worriedfire
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#72 Post by worriedfire » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:42 am

Cremildo wrote:
worriedfire wrote:To compare having a grapefruit slapped in the face and having ones anus penetrated is just beyond me. There are boundaries for what's to be considered OK in terms of surprise tactics. This is not OK.
Are you suggesting Schneider actually had her anus penetrated in the scene? I think you missed the part where she said what Brando was doing wasn't real. It was simulated.
My bad, discard my previous comment. Not sure why I've been under the impression LTIP uses unsimulated sex.

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A man stayed-put
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#73 Post by A man stayed-put » Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:35 pm

As I said previously, this misapprehension seems to be quite widespread and is not helped by people describing it as a rape. All it does is skew the conversation away from the real point which should be about where the line is drawn for artists in their quest for authenticity or the 'right' performance from their actors. I.e when does it stop being the resource of the driven, maverick director and turn into exploitation?

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MichaelB
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#74 Post by MichaelB » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:04 pm

See also Ken Loach engineering a scene in Kes where five schoolboys really got caned on the hand, which they weren't expecting.

In fact, in terms of actual physical pain being caused, that's arguably worse.

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colinr0380
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Re: Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

#75 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:09 pm

Its perhaps a condemnation of method acting as much as anything, or at least the idea that for an actor to provide a 'believable reaction' they have to be placed in the exact emotional state, or have certain details of a scene withheld from them.

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