Ex­punge the sex scenes, and one is left with a short film about flat-hunt­ing

The Guardian Weekly - - Culture - RYAN GIL­BEY IS FILM CRITIC OF THE NEW STATES­MAN AND ALSO WRITES FOR THE GUARDIAN

part to the adu­la­tion of younger di­rec­tors such as Christo­pher Nolan and Danny Boyle, Ber­tolucci is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter.

Last Tango in Paris is a mag­nif­i­cent piece of cin­ema, but it looks very dif­fer­ent now in light of the rev­e­la­tions about the way Sch­nei­der was mis­treated and ma­nip­u­lated by her co-star and di­rec­tor – rev­e­la­tions the ac­tor her­self, who died in 2012, dis­cussed openly in in­ter­views as far back as 2007 but that only gained widespread trac­tion once they were rat­i­fied by Ber­tolucci in 2013. He ad­mit­ted that he and Brando had cooked up to­gether the idea of us­ing but­ter as a prop in the film’s anal-sex scene, sur­pris­ing the then 19-year-old Sch­nei­der while the cam­era was rolling be­cause he “wanted her re­ac­tion as a girl, not as an ac­tress”. Sch­nei­der said she felt “a lit­tle raped” af­ter the scene. “I was so angry. 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.’”

But Last Tango in Paris can’t just be a movie now. Un­like Roeg, Ber­tolucci kept on mak­ing ex­cep­tional work later in life, but that is in dan­ger of be­ing over­shad­owed now that au­di­ences in the #MeToo era can point to Ber­tolucci and say: “Him, too?” What hap­pened on the set of Last Tango in Paris, not to men­tion the years of Sch­nei­der’s claims be­ing ig­nored, com­pli­cates the pe­riod of thriv­ing ex­per­i­men­ta­tion in which that pic­ture was made. It isn’t the first great work of cin­ema to be built on suf­fer­ing, but many view­ers to­day can’t look at it with­out see­ing only the wrongs per­pe­trated in its name.

JACK MITCHELL/GETTY

Him, too? Bernardo Ber­tolucci in 1979

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.