Last Tango in Paris
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Penetrate the moody, sensual world of Last Tango in Paris, and prepare yourself for "the most controversial film of its era" (Leonard Maltin). Nominated for two Academy Awards® Director (Bernardo Bertolucci) and Actor (Marlon Brando) and exuding a sexual energy unlike any film before or after, this is the scintillating classic that shocked a nation... and "altered the face of an art form" (Pauline Kael). He (Brando) is a 45-year old American living in Paris, haunted by his wife's suicide. She (Maria Schneider, Jane Eyre) is a 20-year-old Parisian beauty engaged to a young filmmaker. Though nameless to each other, these tortured souls come together to satisfy their sexual cravings in an apartment as bare as their dark, tragic lives. Caught up in the frenzied beat of a carnal dance they cannot seem to stop, these unlikely lovers take their passion to erotic heights and depths beyond anything they could ever have imagined.
"This is a movie people will be arguing about," said Pauline Kael in a famous 1972 review, "for as long as there are movies." The film was Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris, which the New Yorker critic deemed a watershed in film history. The Blu-ray disc of Last Tango won't settle any longstanding arguments about the film: Is it a masterpiece? A sex film? A bore? Or, in Kael's opinion, "a film that has made the strongest impression on me in almost twenty years of reviewing"? Whatever side you're on, Last Tango remains an "event" film in the best sense, a bold experiment and a collision of some remarkable talents. Bertolucci was at the height of his ambitions, and Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, as the two strangers who strike up an anonymous sexual relationship that turns emotional, can fairly be said to give everything they've got. (In his autobiography, Brando frankly admitted that the toll of giving his gutsy performance made him decide never to go that deep for a movie again.) The Blu-ray is advertised as an "uncut version," although it does not contain new material; its running time is the same as its initial release (the initially X-rated film has occasionally been available in very slightly shorter versions). The visual presentation is clean without looking immaculate or overly digitized, which is fitting for a film made in 1972, and it is an improvement over previous home-video versions. As a statement, Last Tango may be murky; but as a journey, it's unforgettable. --Robert Horton
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Of course its hard to separate that quality from the bones of the story, that of a man seeking oblivion and connection simultaneously. He is Punishing his dead wife for the ultimate rejection of her suicide through the enforced obliterative anonymity he imposes on a much younger and vulnerable lover.
He awakens at last from his dark psychological exile to realize that his nameless masturbatory object is in fact a lifeline, a fabulously
attractive, and inexplicably devoted young woman. By this time of course she has become terrified of this man's obliterative power over her and flees in a panic to liberate herself ....I don't want to give away the end for those who haven't seen it. This ain't no comedy!
Dominique Sanda. Her end of the story is weak at best. We're left with Brando and his side of the story which is interesting but not
enough to carry a film. Very few "stars" can carry a film by themselves. Cagney could but that's another story. So what do we have?
A fraction of a film instead of a masterpiece.