Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

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

#76 Post by George Kaplan » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:47 pm

A few other notable instances to consider are the controversy surrounding Kechiche's BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, Hitchcock's "surprise" use of real birds (only revealed to Hedren as she was about to go on set) for the filming of the final bedroom attack in THE BIRDS, Shelley Duvall's treatment throughout production of THE SHINING (discussion of which was recently revived here), as well as PORTRAIT OF JASON.
I was prepared to also suggest the famous account of Minnelli's direction of Margaret O'Brien in the snow-man scene in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS but, by chance, happened to have just caught a TCM Christmas movie documentary in which O'Brien says that the account is untrue, and that she had not been told that her dog had been killed in order to produce the required amount of tears but, in fact, was in competition with June Allyson to be the best crier on the MGM lot. So, scratch that.
However, I'm fairly certain that the history of cinema is filled with countless other examples of abuses for the sake of getting the shot, that they were more prevalent the further back in time you go, and that the great majority of instances involve female performers, especially neophytes, and children.

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

#77 Post by Feego » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:55 pm

George Kaplan wrote:I was prepared to also suggest the famous account of Minnelli's direction of Margaret O'Brien in the snow-man scene in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS but, by chance, happened to have just caught a TCM Christmas movie documentary in which O'Brien says that the account is untrue, and that she had not been told that her dog had been killed in order to produce the required amount of tears but, in fact, was in competition with June Allyson to be the best crier on the MGM lot. So, scratch that.
The dead-dog story was used, however, to get Jackie Cooper to cry during production of Skippy (1932). Director Norman Taurog, who was Cooper's uncle by marriage, apparently took Cooper's dog outside and fired a gun, leading the young actor to believe that his dog had been shot dead. He then cried satisfactorily for the scene being filmed and was later reunited with the dog. There could probably be pages written about the abuses many child actors suffered in Hollywood during the 1920 and 30s, including Judy Garland being hopped up on uppers in the morning and given downers at night so that she could work long hours.

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

#78 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:01 pm

And Taurog went on to win the Oscar for Best Director for Skippy to boot (and perhaps worth noting that Bertolucci was nominated for his work on this film as well)

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

#79 Post by Ishmael » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:13 pm

Hmmm, the thing is, though, that sticking your hand in someone's underwear and rubbing butter on or near their asshole without their consent is sexual assault. And whether or not she had foreknowledge of Brando's intentions has nothing whatsoever to do with it, unlike many of the tricks mentioned here, which stretch morality only because the targets of them were unaware what was going to happen. So, no, Brando's actions aren't rape, but they're also not in the same category as surprise or emotional abuse (though I don't want to minimize emotional abuse, either). I'm not really worked up about this personally, to be honest, and it's not going to stop me from loving Last Tango, but I do think the rape denial has swung a bit too far to the other side.

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

#80 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:16 pm

Agreed. This is vile treatment in any workplace, up to and including acting. No amount of acclaim for a film or even apology changes the fact. Being mean to someone or even psychologically manipulative is not comparable to physical assault.

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

#81 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:57 am

Yeah, this is clearly a form of sexual assault in a situation in which Schneider felt that she was helpless to make it stop, and she explicitly considered it a form of rape after the fact. The fact that the later penetration was simulated doesn't really enter into it; an indisputably sexual act happened to her against her will. I don't think this really needed Bertolucci's corroboration, but now that we have it, trying to minimize this seems seriously not okay.

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

#82 Post by knives » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:08 am

It seems to me most people's on this board problem lies more with people getting mad now rather than necessarily mitigating that Brando is a dick.

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

#83 Post by A man stayed-put » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:29 am

I hope my comments weren’t read as trying to minimise what was done on the set of Last Tango.
To clarify, outside of the wording of whether or not it was technically a rape, I personally feel that the tenor of the conversation- this evil director and actor raped Maria Schneider and the film is now a no go area- has the side effect of creating the idea that this was the actions of two men unprecedented in the film making process. I don’t see how that does anything but sweep under the carpet that this, in different forms, is semi-accepted (or was) as a directorial technique. This was my reason for raising the other ‘assaults’ (and we are talking about actual physical assaults in some cases- although not sexual in nature) carried out in the name of authenticity.

Surely the benefit of this being a talking point now, years after the death of 2 of those involved, is not to single out Brando or Bertolucci but to consider what it says about power dynamics on film sets, especially when dealing with auteur film-makers convinced of the import of realising their vision. Varying degrees of this, both psychologically and physically, seem to still occur today.

I don’t make this point to, in any way, minimise the deeply unpleasant nature of what happened specifically, or the scars it left with Maria Schneider. It’s just sad that there was so little supportive outrage offered when she voiced this prior to her death.

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

#84 Post by Soothsayer » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:35 pm

A man stayed-put wrote:I hope my comments weren’t read as trying to minimise what was done on the set of Last Tango.
To clarify, outside of the wording of whether or not it was technically a rape, I personally feel that the tenor of the conversation- this evil director and actor raped Maria Schneider and the film is now a no go area- has the side effect of creating the idea that this was the actions of two men unprecedented in the film making process. I don’t see how that does anything but sweep under the carpet that this, in different forms, is semi-accepted (or was) as a directorial technique. This was my reason for raising the other ‘assaults’ (and we are talking about actual physical assaults in some cases- although not sexual in nature) carried out in the name of authenticity.

Surely the benefit of this being a talking point now, years after the death of 2 of those involved, is not to single out Brando or Bertolucci but to consider what it says about power dynamics on film sets, especially when dealing with auteur film-makers convinced of the import of realising their vision. Varying degrees of this, both psychologically and physically, seem to still occur today.

I don’t make this point to, in any way, minimise the deeply unpleasant nature of what happened specifically, or the scars it left with Maria Schneider. It’s just sad that there was so little supportive outrage offered when she voiced this prior to her death.
I fail to see how the final line of your post has anything to do with the rest of your position. And frankly, it does read as a bit defensive of Bertolucci's actions in the name of auteur-ism.

Maria Schneider's agency was taken away by this action. Whether it was on camera or off, her agency was taken away from her intentionally for the benefit of a man making a film. That is categorically unacceptable.

Reading the posts regarding this scene in the earlier part of this thread is nothing less than pathetic. Several people in this thread should have been ashamed of themselves when they posted it, and should be ashamed of themselves now.

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

#85 Post by A man stayed-put » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:51 pm

I fail to see how the final line of your post has anything to do with the rest of your position. And frankly, it does read as a bit defensive of Bertolucci's actions in the name of auteur-ism.
Then you've completely missed the point I was making.
My point was to question the licence that 'auteurism' allows filmmakers. I'm not defending Bertolucci, I'm suggesting that he is not alone in these methods and if the focus remains on him being an outlier no good can come of the conversation, given that the wronged party in this instance passed away some time ago and was largely ignored when she raised it.
I've basically just slightly re-worded my previous post, so this may be wasted energy.

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

#86 Post by domino harvey » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:53 pm

Soothsayer wrote:Reading the posts regarding this scene in the earlier part of this thread is nothing less than pathetic. Several people in this thread should have been ashamed of themselves when they posted it, and should be ashamed of themselves now.
Do not ascribe "correct" levels of outrage to others, and do not wave your bell septa-style and call out shame. In the wake of these revelations, no one here has defended Bertolucci's behavior (this is still true even if you feel their objections should be stronger)

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

#87 Post by Soothsayer » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:00 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Soothsayer wrote:Reading the posts regarding this scene in the earlier part of this thread is nothing less than pathetic. Several people in this thread should have been ashamed of themselves when they posted it, and should be ashamed of themselves now.
Do not ascribe "correct" levels of outrage to others, and do not wave your bell septa-style and call out shame
Seeing as you put scare quotes around "correct", I'd like to point out that I never used the word. As well, trying to call out my post as the questionable one in this thread is horrifying.

I'm not the only person in this thread who's pointed out what I find to be a disgusting reaction to that scene, the pain it caused Schneider, and to the discovery of Bertolucci and Brando's culpability in it.

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

#88 Post by domino harvey » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:05 pm

You are the one telling others they should be ashamed to not express their disapproval in a fashion you deem fit. Again, in light of this confirmation, no one has defended Bertolucci's behavior, and some are trying to use this as more than just an outrage instigator to examine larger institutional issues relating to power and how women are treated in the film system.

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

#89 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:07 pm

Soothsayer wrote:I fail to see how the final line of your post has anything to do with the rest of your position. And frankly, it does read as a bit defensive of Bertolucci's actions in the name of auteur-ism.
It doesn't have to read as defensive. One can easily read it as a lament for:

1. how what it takes to get attention and outrage is not the claims of the victim, but the confession of the perpetrator, and how this seems to enact the oft-criticized silencing of the oppressed/victimized.

2. how people have shown up in droves now that shaming and outrage are possible, but did not when support was needed--and as a result this all seems impotent and in bad faith.

This is how I read his point, and I think it has a lot of truth to it.
Soothsayer wrote:Seeing as you put scare quotes around "correct", I'd like to point out that I never used the word. As well, trying to call out my post as the questionable one in this thread is horrifying.
You said that the responses in this thread are "pathetic" and bring shame to those who wrote them. Does that not mean you think the responses are not correct? Or do you feel a response can both be correct and make the sayer a rightful object of shame in your own eyes?

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

#90 Post by Soothsayer » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:07 pm

A man stayed-put wrote:
I fail to see how the final line of your post has anything to do with the rest of your position. And frankly, it does read as a bit defensive of Bertolucci's actions in the name of auteur-ism.
Then you've completely missed the point I was making.
My point was to question the licence that 'auteurism' allows filmmakers. I'm not defending Bertolucci, I'm suggesting that he is not alone in these methods and if the focus remains on him being an outlier no good can come of the conversation, given that the wronged party in this instance passed away some time ago and was largely ignored when she raised it.
I've basically just slightly re-worded my previous post, so this may be wasted energy.
In that post, you're literally comparing actions that aren't classified as sexual assault, to sexual assault. I find comparing these as a way to find the limits of the acceptability for auteur-ism to be a mistake.

I agree that it's unfortunate that this issue was not discussed with proper depth and seriousness when Schneider first gave the interview. I'm guilty myself, as I've never been a fan of this film and didn't care to read too deeply into it, so I was unaware of Schneider's previous interview on the matter. However, it is being discussed now, which imo is what really matters. Someone earlier pointed out that there seems to be more attention in the media paid to sexual assault and the lack of actions taken about them. I tend to think this has an influence, and one I'm happy to see.

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

#91 Post by Soothsayer » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:14 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Soothsayer wrote:Seeing as you put scare quotes around "correct", I'd like to point out that I never used the word. As well, trying to call out my post as the questionable one in this thread is horrifying.
You said that the responses in this thread are "pathetic" and bring shame to those who wrote them. Does that not mean you think the responses are not correct? Or do you feel a response can both be correct and make the sayer a rightful object of shame in your own eyes?
To put it simply, I do think it's shameful to belittle someone after they have publicly claimed their agency was taken away from them, on camera, in the form of sexual assault. This is what Maria Schneider claimed happened, and Bertolucci later confirmed. Look at several of the posts which came after Barmy's post on the first page which quoted the Maria Schneider interview. The first one tried to chide her for even talking about it. That is shameful, full-stop. To use the semantics of the word "correct" as an argument against my thoughts on this matter is baffling to me...

I don't feel the worth in defending myself or expanding on why I feel this way. I'm not forcing anyone to agree or disagree with me, words can't do that.

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

#92 Post by movielocke » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:17 pm

Feego wrote:
George Kaplan wrote:I was prepared to also suggest the famous account of Minnelli's direction of Margaret O'Brien in the snow-man scene in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS but, by chance, happened to have just caught a TCM Christmas movie documentary in which O'Brien says that the account is untrue, and that she had not been told that her dog had been killed in order to produce the required amount of tears but, in fact, was in competition with June Allyson to be the best crier on the MGM lot. So, scratch that.
The dead-dog story was used, however, to get Jackie Cooper to cry during production of Skippy (1932). Director Norman Taurog, who was Cooper's uncle by marriage, apparently took Cooper's dog outside and fired a gun, leading the young actor to believe that his dog had been shot dead. He then cried satisfactorily for the scene being filmed and was later reunited with the dog. There could probably be pages written about the abuses many child actors suffered in Hollywood during the 1920 and 30s, including Judy Garland being hopped up on uppers in the morning and given downers at night so that she could work long hours.
i attended a screening of skippy where cooper said in a q and a afterwords the taurog version of the story wasn't true. A gun wasn't fired, his dog was taken away and he was told the dog had been killed, but he then saw his dog playing before the scene was filmed. The dog thing didn't influence nor create his performance, that was just taurog taking credit for it.

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

#93 Post by calculus entrophy » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:20 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
1. how what it takes to get attention and outrage is not the claims of the victim, but the confession of the perpetrator, and how this seems to enact the oft-criticized silencing of the oppressed/victimized.

2. how people have shown up in droves now that shaming and outrage are possible, but did not when support was needed--and as a result this all seems impotent and in bad faith.

This is how I read his point, and I think it has a lot of truth to it.
This is a really well-worded summary.

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

#94 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:20 pm

Soothsayer wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:
Soothsayer wrote:Seeing as you put scare quotes around "correct", I'd like to point out that I never used the word. As well, trying to call out my post as the questionable one in this thread is horrifying.
You said that the responses in this thread are "pathetic" and bring shame to those who wrote them. Does that not mean you think the responses are not correct? Or do you feel a response can both be correct and make the sayer a rightful object of shame in your own eyes?
To put it simply, I do think it's shameful to belittle someone after they have publicly claimed their agency was taken away from them, on camera, in the form of sexual assault. This is what Maria Schneider claimed happened, and Bertolucci later confirmed. Look at several of the posts which came after Barmy's post on the first page which quoted the Maria Schneider interview. The first one tried to chide her for even talking about it. That is shameful, full-stop. To use the semantics of the word "correct" as an argument against my thoughts on this matter is baffling to me...

I don't feel the worth in defending myself or expanding on why I feel this way. I'm not forcing anyone to agree or disagree with me, words can't do that.
You did not specify which posts in this thread you were referring to, so I'm pretty sure most who read your post came to the same conclusion I did: that you were referring to the most recent discussion of the matter. That you did nothing to distinguish the early posts you now cite from the later one you took direct issue with is suspicious.

What's baffling to me is why you keep refusing the word "correct" even though you must believe that some responses are correct are some are not. Do you simply object to how it sounds when your attitude is described flatly and without the adornments of rhetoric and phrasing?

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

#95 Post by A man stayed-put » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:26 pm

Soothsayer wrote:In that post, you're literally comparing actions that aren't classified as sexual assault, to sexual assault. I find comparing these as a way to find the limits of the acceptability for auteur-ism to be a mistake.
I was comparing other actions that could be classified as assault.

If you think it's a mistake to discuss how this is possibly not the only time someone has been assaulted/coerced/misled for effect on a film set and what this says about certain film making attitudes/techniques then fine, don't engage in the discussion.
If you must I would appreciate it though if you would at least take the time to read what's being discussed rather than erroneously claiming that people are defending those involved.

Anyway Domino and Mr Sausage have already clarified my point far better than I've managed, so I'll leave it there.

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

#96 Post by perkizitore » Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:19 pm

Bertolucci's response
based on previous statements i had the impression she was notified of the scene content only that morning!

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

#97 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:13 pm

After having read that, I guess we now have an opportunity to either believe the victim or the alleged perpetrator. Clearly, they disagree with one another. I'm going to bet that everyone currently on this forum backs Schneider--that we are all just arguing fine points, not the basic problem, as domino reminds us--because I trust you all.

Maybe one explanation for Soothsayer's rage is the fact that he or she is reaching back in this thread to 2007, the actual year of Schneider's interview, when the following lovely comment followed Barmy's link:
Will she never shut up about this? I am seriously beginning to query her sanity. She manages to exploit her own supposed exploitation. :shock:
In my mind, this is classic rape culture minimizing: "My God, when will this woman stop whining about the time Marlon Brando sexually assaulted her ass with a stick of butter!" This comment is followed by tasteless jokes that I won't quote, but it's pretty clear that criterionforum.org failed the sensitivity-to-sexual-assault test at least ten years ago.

We have to spend far more time trusting, believing victims of sexual assault, right? Schneider said, "I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can’t force someone to do something that isn’t in the script, but at the time, I didn’t know that. Marlon said to me: ‘Maria, don’t worry, it’s just a movie.’" She also said, "I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci." This is unambiguously sexual assault, which, last time I checked, is a felony, as well as being a moral outrage and a crime constantly underreported in this country because we dismiss claims too often. Maybe no one got into a huff ten years ago on this forum because it would have seemed to run against the grain of the more dominant, jocular attitude toward the incident. Again, that's text-book rape culture stuff, not just me sermonizing.

And before we start banking our arguments on the penetration-or-not mitigation factor, imagine someone saying, "Trump ain't that bad, because he didn't say, 'Put your hand in her pussy'; he just said 'Grab her by the pussy.' No penetration, see?" It's ridiculously evasive. Sexual assault is sexual assault, even if it isn't legally rape.

Having said all this, I repeat: I don't think a single person on this forum would disagree with the fact that Brando and Bertolucci sexually assaulted Schneider with impunity. We know and trust how people stand here on these issues. Yet if all I had to judge were the comments following Barmy's link ten years back, I wouldn't be so sure.

I do think Soothsayer should indicate precisely whom he or she has a problem with, be more specific, quote examples, avoid sweeping rage rhetoric, etc. Mr. Sausage is trying to pin things down admirably, which is the care people must take when they discuss inflammatory issues like these. Otherwise, we're just going to melt into a gooey mass of defensiveness and nothing will be accomplished or learned.

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

#98 Post by Cameron Swift » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:43 pm

Mr Sausage wrote: You did not specify which posts in this thread you were referring to, so I'm pretty sure most who read your post came to the same conclusion I did: that you were referring to the most recent discussion of the matter. That you did nothing to distinguish the early posts you now cite from the later one you took direct issue with is suspicious.
The poster can stand up for themselves but he/she did specify the posts referred to...
Reading the posts regarding this scene in the earlier part of this thread is nothing less than pathetic. Several people in this thread should have been ashamed of themselves when they posted it, and should be ashamed of themselves now.

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

#99 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:30 pm

"Earlier part of this thread" reads differently now after the explanation. It ought to've been stated less ambiguously given the context and the emotions involved. But I will give the poster credit: he did try to say he was talking about posts from several years ago.

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

#100 Post by furbicide » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:29 am

Given all this, what are the viewer's ethical obligations, do you think? Should the film even be available without the scene excised? That may sound like an extreme question, but if the BBFC does it for animal cruelty...

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