Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

The Last Tango in Paris is a slightly interesting film about two people. Marlon Brando is Paul, a man trying to cope with the recent suicide of his wife. Maria Schneider is Jeanne, a young woman seemingly trying to find herself. Paul and Jeanne’s paths cross one day while they are both looking at an apartment to rent in Paris. They immediately have intercourse, and Paul ends up taking the apartment. For some period of time, Jeanne comes to see Paul for sex and sex alone. He refuses to talk about himself, and wants to know nothing about Jeanne, not even her name. As soon as she brings up anything even remotely personal Paul gets very hostile. Paul and Jeanne truly have a no-strings-attached, entirely sexual relationship. In his personal life, Paul runs a run down hotel that is frequented by hookers and junkies. His mother-in-law has recently come to stay at the hotel due to her daughter’s death and this does not please Paul, they often get into fights about religion and the way to deal with her daughter’s funeral. In Jeanne’s personal life she is engaged to a man named Tom who is a young filmmaker. Tom latest project is a story of love in which Jeanne is the main subject. Tom is constantly following Jeanne around with a camera and crew and Jeanne doesn’t much care for this. It seems that the afternoons of sex is the only escape that Paul and Jeanne have from their stressful and depressing lives. I wasn’t particularly impressed with The Last Tango in Paris, the storyline wasn’t very original and the characters really weren’t that interesting. Maria Schneider is beautiful as Jeanne and gives a good performance, and Brando isn’t bad either. The script at times seems to be needlessly dirty, Bernardo Bertolucci appears to just be going for as much shock value as he can get. All in all The Last Tango in Paris is an okay film, but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. Overall 2.5/4 Stars Grade = C

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