Last Tango in Paris
Friday 27 July - 23:00 (2012)
The most controversial film of its era, Bertolucci’s barrier-breaking erotic drama LAST TANGO IN PARIS shocked audiences upon its initial release in 1972, and was banned in several countries. Now, 40 years later, it´s a classic. Starring the legendary Marlon Brando and an unknown Maria Schneider, LAST TANGO IN PARIS is a raw anti-romance, a tragic story of loss and most primitive carnal urges, that push two strangers into an unconventional relationship.
While looking for an apartment, Jeanne, a beautiful young Parisienne who is engaged to be married, encounters Paul, a middle-aged American tormented by his wife's recent suicide. Instantly drawn to each other, he pulls her into a torrid sexual entanglement. The vacant and dingy apartment becomes their sexual hideaway where the two continue their anonymous affair. Neither of them is interested in forming a romantic liaison and Paul lays down the ground rules for their clandestine affair:
no names, nothing personal, just sex. Both find it extremely liberating and each of them finds in this sordid affair something that apparently they both need. Paul wants to bury his soul-crushing despair in mindless animal passion, and Jeanne responds to the sheer authenticity of his emotion, even if it is for reasons she does not quite understand. For Paul the affair is like a safety valve, a cathartic experience, and he seems to view the apartment as a kind of purgatory... having purged his demons, he's ready to take their relationship out into the real world, and to love Jeanne as a person. But what about Jeanne?
Jeanne remains an enigma til the end. Throughout the film we see a lot of her body, but we know nothing about her inner life. Whereas Paul´s crushed soul and desperation are laid bare before us. Brandohas managed to create an acutely well-defined portrait of a man in deep emotional crisis, resulting in one of Brando’s finest and most revealing performances.
Notorious because of its sexual explicitness and raw portrayal of emotional turmoil, LAST TANGO IN PARIS faced international controversy and drew various levels of moral condemnation, with its fornication denounced as "pornography disguised as art", and even government censorship. Chile banned it for nearly thirty years, and it was similarly suppressed in South Korea, Portugal, Spain, and Canada. In Italy it provoked a major storm, and the director was put to trial for "obscenity". The Italian Supreme Court sentenced all copies to be destroyed, Bertolucci was served with a four month suspended sentence in prison and had his civil rights revoked for five years, depriving him of voting rights.
Bernardo Bertolucci, Franco Arcalli, Agnès Varda
Franco Arcalli, Roberto Perpignani
Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Jean-Pierre Léaud jt
Nominations: Academy Awards (1974) Best Director, Best Actor; Golden Globes (1974) Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Director; BAFTAs (1974) Best Actor; Grammy Awards (1974) Best Original Score; Directors Guild of America (1974) Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures;