Jun 27, 2014

Last Tango in Paris




Make no mistake about it, I am no friend of commies, be they of the kosher or shabbos goy persuasion, yet Italy has somehow managed to produce a red or two that I actually respect, though dago Freudian-Marxist Bernardo Bertolucci (The Conformist aka Il conformist, The Dreamers) is certainly not one of them. Indeed, while I have always regarded Pier Paolo Pasolini as one of my favorite filmmakers, his fellow poet-turned-filmmaker buddy Bertolucci (whose first film, La commare secca (1962) aka The Grim Reaper, was penned by Pasolini) has always rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it is because he degraded the European arthouse film by turning into something akin to a cheap Hollywood product, uses degenerate sex (i.e. incest, anus-fingering, etc) as a cheap gimmick to prove the artistic merit of his work among the right far-left intellectuals and film critics, routinely sexually and emotionally exploits his actors and actresses, and/or because he is a rare Guido Francophile, but Bertolucci is a certainly man I love to hate and easily my least favorite of the great post-WWII Italian directors. Of course, as someone who likes to give credit where credit is due, I must admit I rather enjoyed two of the pinko goombah’s films, La commare secca (1962) aka The Grim Reaper, as well as his Franco-Italian ‘magnum opus’ Last Tango in Paris (1972) aka Ultimo tango a Parigi. Considering it has been at least a decade since I last saw Last Tango in Paris, I recently decided to re-watch it to see if I was not merely hypnotized into liking the film by Maria Schneider’s jumbo jugs and Marlon Brando’s singular brazen butter-loving post-twink performance. It should be noted that both stars of the film went on to say that they felt raped and manipulated by Bertolucci, with Brando refusing to talk to the director for 15 years after the work's release and Schneider even going so far as to describe the auteur as a “gangster and pimp” and even completely disavowing her involvement in the film that made her a famous and international sex icon, once stating, “Last Tango ... first major role […] I regretted my choice since the beginning of my career would have been sweeter, quieter. For Tango, I was not prepared. People have identified with a character that was not me. Butter, about saucy old pigs...Even Marlon with his charisma and class, felt a bit violated, exploited a little in this film. He rejected it for years. And me, I felt it doubly.”



 Indeed, Schneider felt the film “stole her youth” and even described it as her life’s only regret (which is pretty telling considering she was a sexually depraved junky who burned many bridges during her uniquely uneven acting career), yet in my humble opinion, it is easily the greatest and most moving performance she has ever given, thus acting as a rare example where Bertolucci’s manipulative and exploitative directing style has had a somewhat positive outcome. Of course, the most incriminating claim against the Guido pervert is the fact that a proud sexual outlaw and perennial bad boy like Brando of all people would claim that he felt ‘raped’ by Bertolucci, yet the film also gave the On the Waterfront (1954) star his then-stagnating career back. Ultimately, Last Tango in Paris is a pretentious and obscenely overrated proto-artsploitation flick that only has slightly more artistic merit than the typical Tinto Brass fuck flick and it is certainly not the “landmark in movie history” and “movie breakthrough” that purportedly “altered the face of an art form” as kosher critic Pauline Kael lauded it as in her famous puffery-ridden New York Times review, yet the film is undeniably alluring and even sometimes provocative, if not in an oftentimes unintentionally hilarious manner as a piece of patently perverse celluloid pomposity that reminds one why Bertolucci is a self-professed Freudian. Notably, conservative Factory auteur Paul Morrissey thought the film was so wretched and pathetically pretentious that he included a line in his Warhol-produced horror satire Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) where the eponymous character played by Udo Kier states, “To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life in the gallbladder” to mock a famous scene from Bertolucci's film where Brando absurdly states, “until you go right up into the ass of death; right up in his ass until you find the womb of fear, and then maybe, maybe then you'll be able to find him.” Indeed, featuring unsanctioned sodomy of the buttery and unholy sort and Brando taking two fingers up the bum like a seasoned champ of scatology, Bertolucci’s somewhat poorly aged film demonstrates that Swedish master auteur Ingmar Bergman may have been right when he stated the work was “really about homosexuals.” Of course, the director has denied that the film was inspired by any sort of latent homosexuality on his part, stating it was based on a personal sexual fantasy of his that was inspired by how he, “once dreamed of seeing a beautiful nameless woman on the street and having sex with her without ever knowing who she was.” It should also be noted that the film was co-written by French feminist filmmaker Agnès Varda, who based the ending of the work on the death of Jim Morrison, who overdosed on heroin in Paris the previous year. 



 Opening with a curious credit sequence featuring two paintings, Double Portrait of Lucian Freud and Frank Auerback and Study for a Portrait, by gay British figurative painter Francis Bacon, Last Tango in Paris immediately lets the viewer know that they are in store for a superlatively sleazy European arthouse film where post-counter-culture sexual degeneracy of the pseudo-romantic sort is the main selling point. After the credits scene, the viewer is introduced to a majorly melancholy middle-aged American flophouse owner named Paul (Marlon Brando), who screams “Fucking God” while walking aimlessly around Pont de Bir-Hakeim in Paris due to the fact that his beauteous blonde French wife Rosa (played by Veronica Lazar, who went on to star in a number of Bertolucci’s films, including La Luna (1979), The Sheltering Sky (1990), and Besieged (1998)) has just committed suicide by slitting her wrists in a bathtub. While walking around Pont de Bir-Hakeim, Paul spots a hot young 19-year-old frog chick with big tits named Jeanne (Maria Schneider), who is headed to Left Bank to look for an apartment for her and her pompous pansy documentary filmmaker fiancée Tom (Jean-Pierre Leaud) to live together in. Ultimately, Paul follows Jeanne to a dilapidated apartment in Left Bank, speaks French to her a bit with a rather rough American accent, remains silent for a couple minutes or so, and out of nowhere decides to forcefully push the young lady against the wall, rip her panties off, and give her a good old forceful fucking in the crummy flat. While Paul soon leaves without so much as even introducing himself, he returns to the apartment the next day and lays out ground rules to Jeanne regarding how they will meet twice a week to improve one another’s carnal knowledge, but that they will never get to know one another.  Indeed, Paul even bans Jeanne from telling him her name, but naturally curiosity is eventually going to get the best of the cute, if not severely scattered-brained and emotionally erratic, young girl.




 Meanwhile, Jeanne is becoming increasingly annoyed by her effeminate fiancée Tom’s incessant tendency towards following her around with a film crew and filming every single mundane thing she does. Indeed, Tom wants to make a cinéma vérité documentary about Jeanne’s deceased father, who was a hero in the French Foreign Legion that was killed during combat in Algeria in 1958. Indeed, since her immature yet artistically pretentious boy toy is more interested in her long dead daddy than her, Jeanne sees it as only natural to begin a relationship with a lecherous and seemingly half-loony macho American man, who also serves as a depraved father-figure of sorts (in fact, Bertolucci attempted to gain publicity for the film by claiming that Schneider developed a real-life “Oedipal fixation with Brando” during the production). Indeed, as a man whose wife cheated on him and committed suicide in the same flophouse they ran together, Paul has his own problems to worry about and having a random “no strings attached” sexual relationship with a seemingly undefiled young girl seems like just the thing he needs at this rather dark and dreary point in his increasingly intolerable life. When Paul meets with Rosa’s mother (Maria Michi), who wants her daughter to have a proper Catholic burial and receive absolution from a priest, the whacked out widower becomes enraged and screams at his crying mother-in-law, “No! Rose didn’t believe. Nobody believes in the fucking God here! […] The Priest doesn’t want any suicides. The Church doesn’t want any suicides, do they?”  Of course, it seems like Paul is more irked by the fact that his wife committed suicide without writing a suicide note than the fact her mother wants to give her a traditional Catholic funeral.  Indeed, Paul just cannot seem to fathom why his spouse would commit self-slaughter out of the blue, thus hinting that he is a psychopath who lacks the empathy to understand other people, including his own loved ones.  Of course, in the end, Paul will also discover that he does not understand his young Parisian fuck buddy and it will ultimately cost him his rather worthless life.




 Naturally, after a couple passionate coitus sessions, Jeanne wants to know more about the personal life of the old fart who likes talking about farts (at one point, she remarks he has “strong hands,” to which he replies, “The better to squeeze a fart out of you!”) that has been routinely feeding her extra-furry frog pussy. Paul eventually gives into being more confessional after Jeanne describes how she lost her virginity to her first love, who also happened to be her cousin (ironically, the lucky, if not incestuous, fellow’s name was also Paul). After describing his parents as follows, “My father was a drunk. Tough, Whore-fucker, bar-fighter. Super-masculine. And he was tough. My mother was very poetic. Also a drunk” and claiming that one of his earliest memories involved being arrested for being nude in public at his quaint childhood farm community, Jeanne calls him out on what she believes is pure fabricated bullshit and calls him an “egoist,” proclaiming, “your solitude weighs on me.” As punishment for weighing his solitude on her, Jeanne decides to deny Paul sex and proceeds to get kinky all by her lonesome by masturbating. Meanwhile, Paul learns that a degenerate tenant named Marcel (Massimo Girotti) at the flophouse that he and his dead wife managed was carrying on an affair with Rosa around the same time she committed suicide. Of course, Jeanne’s relationship with her fiancée Tom continues to go sour as she is “tired of being raped” by his camera (indeed, it seems Monsieur Leaud was a stand-in of sorts for the director). With both of them suffering from personal misery related to disappointing lovers, Paul decides to spice things up by rubbing butter on Jeanne's virginal rectum and forcibly sodomizing her while forcing her to chant, “Holy family. Church of good citizens. The children are tortured until they tell their first lie. Where the will is broken by repression. Where freedom is assassinated by egotism.” Needless to say, Jeanne, who is assumedly an anal virgin, sobs like a scared child while being bestially sodomized by her eccentric elder. 




 While at a wedding rehearsal with her family and fiancée Tom, Jeanne has a hysterical emotional breakdown of sorts and runs to Paul for safety while still wearing her wedding dress. After taking off her wedding dress, gently bathing her body in a bathtub, and explaining to her that love does not exist, Paul decides to reward Jeanne for her audacious anal courage from the previous day by allowing her to shove her fingers up his middle-aged American porthole, though he forces her to cut her fingernails beforehand. When Paul goes to his dead wife Rosa’s wake, he opts for savagely verbally assaulting his postmortem beloved’s cute corpse by calling her a “cheap, goddamn, fucking, godforsaken whore” and a “goddamn, fucking, pig-fucking liar,” but he ultimately realizes he never really understood her and gets all sentimental, calling her his “sweetheart” and whatnot by the end of his rather unconventional attempt at (non)mourning. More than anything, Paul wants to know why Rosa committed suicide in the first place and he also wishes he had the gall to do the same.  Luckily, Jeanne will eventually give him the chance to end his miserable life of endless internal suffering. Rather disconcerted by the fact that he cannot make sense of his wife's suicide, Paul abruptly decides to stop meeting Jeanne at her apartment for salacious sex sessions, which naturally shatters the rather naïve young girl, so she decides to go patch things up with Tom, who proves to be a bourgeois bore. Of course, Paul eventually has a change of heart and when he randomly spots Jeanne walking down the street one day, he tries to reconcile with her and begins telling her about his personal life as a lonely widower who owns a sleazy hotel, but she tells him that their relationship is over and that she is marrying Tom. While Jeanne eventually confesses to Paul that she loves him, she will not back down regarding her decision to end their relationship, so the exceedingly egotistical American pervert only becomes all the more determined to make her his perennial fuck-buddy, even though he is really only using her as a fleshy tool to get over the untimely self-slaughter of his belated wife. After getting drunk at a café where a tango contest is taking place (hence, the title of the film!), Paul coerces Jeanne into tangoing with him and while they are doing so, she begins to jerk him off, but during mid-hand-job, she has a panic attack and runs away like a scared little girl to her mommy’s apartment. Of course, Paul chases Jeanne down and corners her in her mother’s apartment. After Paul asks Jeanne her name for the first time and she tells him it, the sexually aggressive American deadbeat decides to lunge at her, thus resulting in romantic tragedy. After assumedly unconsciously deciding she is no longer interested in fucking her sad and pathetic pseudo-father-figure because he is no longer intriguing (after all, she now knows everything she needs to know about him), Jeanne symbolically pulls out her deceased daddy’s military service revolver and blows away Brando with a bullet to the belly. Of course, like most desperate and scornful women looking for a rather shameless way to get out of legal trouble relating to a lover who has fallen out of favor, Jeanne cravenly decides that she will tell the police that Paul tried to rape her and that she was only defending herself. Indeed, in the end, Paul ironically went “right up into the ass of death.” 




 After watching Last Tango in Paris, it is easy to see why Maria Schneider rapidly degenerated into an emotional trainwreck of a junky with no sex appeal who ruined her chance of being in countless great films, including surrealist maestro Luis Buñuel’s masterful swansong That Obscure Object of Desire (1977). Indeed, among other things, she destroyed Jacques Rivette’s Merry-Go-Round (1981) and even quit the production before it was actually finished, thus forcing the director to hire a stand-in to play her role. While in Rivette’s film Schneider clearly looks like ‘damaged goods’ with an intolerably bitchy demeanor, she seems quite fresh and virginal in Last Tango in Paris, thus hinting that the actress may have been somewhat right when she proclaimed the film ruined her life, even if she was already engaged in hard drug use and sexual debauchery at the time. Shortly after she died from cancer on 3 February 2011 at age 58, Bernardo Bertolucci publicly stated regarding Schneider, “Her death came too soon, before I could hold her again tenderly, and tell her that I felt connected to her as on the first day, and for once, to ask her to forgive me,” and even went so far as to admit, “Maria accused me of having robbed her of her youth and only today am I wondering whether there wasn't some truth to that.” Of course, as his similar dubious use of young actors like American twink Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire, Funny Games), sensual French Jewess Eva Green (Kingdom of Heaven, Casino Royale), and French avant-garde auteur Philippe Garrel’s son Louis Garrel (whose godfather is Last Tango star Jean-Pierre Léaud) in The Dreamers (2003) demonstrates, Bertolucci has only grown more eager with age to use youthful actors as masturbatory tools for his own overtly fetishistic fantasies. Indeed, like his epically mundane Marxist epic 1900 (1976) aka Novecento, which features two unclad little boys more or less masturbating, Last Tango in Paris features naked children, including a completely pointless scene where a little boy proudly defecates in Schneider’s company. Indeed, as much as I think Sigmund Freud was an anti-Aryan quack whose main objective with his studies was subverting the morality of the Occident, it would certainly be interesting to see what he would have to say about Bertolucci’s films, especially Last Tango in Paris, which features incest, obsessive anal fixations, scatology (ranging from defecating little boys to buttery yet brutal bum-fucking), eccentric Electra complexes, and rape fantasies, among countless other things that make it quite clear that the director would have probably been put into a gulag if his lifelong dream of Italy degenerating into a communist hellhole had actually been realized. When Ingmar Bergman stated of the film that it “was really about homosexuals, and only in those terms did the film make sense and become interesting,” Bertolucci replied by stating, “I accept all interpretations of my films. The only reality is before the camera. Each film I make is kind of a return to poetry for me, or at least an attempt to create a poem.” Personally, I interpreted the film as celluloid sexual sadism and exceedingly enthusiastic degeneracy disguised as cinematic poetry, but then again, that is arguably the film’s greatest appeal as a piece of unintentionally absurd con-artistry directed by Italy’s foremost commie conman filmmaker. 



-Ty E

29 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I think the vast majority of geezers watching the film would`ve prefered it if it had been a group of little girls showing their bums ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Why was art-house rubbish like this so popular ?, by 1972 hard-core pornography was freely available everywhere (except that hell-hole Britain of course), 99% of the people who saw this movie on its original release went specifically to see Maria Schneider being buggered, and then you couldn`t even see Brandos knob going up her bum, what an art-house swizz (con).

Jennifer Croissant said...

Magnificent reveiw Ty E, 7 paragraphs, quite superb.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, just with regards to the images of Maria that you accompanied the reveiw with, and re-iterating what i said last week, i just wish the internet and "Ass Teen Mouth" and "First Anal Quest" has existed in 1970 when Maria was 18, she would`ve been so perfect for those sites, although she would`ve had to shave her pubic hair and the hair around her arse-hole obviously. But just imagine a completely shaved Maria being buggered senseless in POV on those sites, it would`ve been so incredible.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its odd that Maria made such a fuss about being buggered in this film, claiming that it destroyed her life when literally thousands of gorgeous sexy 18 year-old girls are now being buggered senseless on sites like "Ass Teen Mouth" and "First Aanl Quest" without batting an eyelid !!!!!.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

In 1971 Maria Schneiders arse was one of the most stunning i`ve ever seen.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Just with regards to Ingmar Berg-girls idiotic and quite absurd woofter poofter interpretation of this film: DEATH TO ALL PANSY QUEER BASTARDS.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Have you seen pictures of Francis Bacon ?, he had the classic and odious look of a loathsome and horrifying faggot (like a piece of his brain was missing), faggots are so hideous, THEY MUST BE DESTROYED, THEY MUST BE ANNIHILATED, UNTIL THEIR SICKENING CURSE IS GONE FROM THE PLANET FOREVER.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Bertolucci is a much better film-maker than Pasolini simply because he is rampagingly heterosexual rather than a loathsome odious faggot.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

How can Bertolucci be a pervert if he is heterosexual ! ?, its faggots who are perverts the dirty queer bastards ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Most people went to see "Last Tango in Paris" specifically to see Maria being buggered, the rest of the film was so pretentious and unwatchable, it must`ve been very difficult for them to endure. Thats why i prefer the Windows Vista Media Centre clips, the same 5 or 6 thrusts of the dick in and out of the birds bum over and over again, they`re so perfect to jerk-off to and i dont have endure two hours of pretentious nonsense. I wish the Windows Vista media Centre clips had been available in 1970 then people wouldn`t have had to endure pretentious unwatchable garbage like "Last Tango in Paris" ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, just with regards to what you said about the difference in Maria's demeaner between 1971 and 1981, well thats the difference between a bird being 18 and a bird being 28. When a bird is 18 shes in the prime of her life where-as when shes 28 she isn`t anymore ! ! !.

teddy crescendo said...

I wonder if she was playing soccer with her tits 10 years later ?.

Jennifer Croissant said...

This is such an eminently re-readable reveiw, i`ve read it 4 times already.

teddy crescendo said...

In the scene where hes talking to his dead wife didn`t he use the word "cunt", its odd that you didn`t girl-tion that because it was the most impactful mo-girl-t in the entire scene, the abrasiveness of the word packed an incredible punch when Brando used it.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, you made the mistake of calling Brando a pervert just because he was 47 and Maria was 19 at the time of filming, that Hollywood faggot conspiracy is poisoning your mind again, its the most natural normal thing in the world for middle-aged geezers to lust after young girls, heterosexual geezers are the lifeblood of America, its the faggots who run Hollywood who must be destroyed.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

In those close-ups cant you just imagine Maria's face covered with globules of spunk ! ! !. what a sweet little face that bird had.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Maria did have great tits in 1971 but they still weren`t in the same league as the 17 year-old Pauline Hickeys tits from 1985.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Veronica Lazar was quite a tasty bird when she was younger, i think the best film she ever appeared in was Fulci's "The Beyond". By the way, the bird only snuffed it a couple of weeks ago at the age of 75, in a way its like you reveiwed this film as a tribute to her.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Another film that Veronica Lazar appeared in that is literally screaming out to be reveiwed on this site is Antonioni's 1982 cult oddity "Identification of a Wo-girl".

Jennifer Croissant said...

Ty E, you dont often allocate films 7 paragraphs, the fact that you did for this one proves that you must regard it in very high esteem. Although oddly the reveiw itself wouldn`t neccessarily agree with that assumption.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Maria had such amazing cocksucking lips when she was 18, a tantric two-hour blow-job from her (and then unloading literally half-a-pint of spunk down her amazing young throat at the end of the two hours obviously) would`ve been like a living breathing trip to a literal heaven here on earth ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"Sobs like a scared child while being bestially sodomized by her eccentric elder"....Oh Heather, oh Cindy, oh Judith, oh JonBenet, oh every gorgeous little girl in the world aged between 2 and 12, i desperately want to bestially sodomize them all ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

So the scared little girl runs away mid hand job eh, if a Judith Barsi look-a-like did that with me i`d run after her very quickly and shove my willy up her stunning little 4 year-old bum ! ! !.

Jennifer Croissant said...

Ty E, i know you`re getting ready for Brazil vs Chile in a couple of hours but just take the time to a-girl-d those mistakes first, this is a truly superb reveiw.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

In that picture of Maria standing up in the bath i wish Brando wasn`t in the shot with her, then i`d be able to jerk-off to it. What an amazing arse that bird had back in `71.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I like the picture of Maria in the wedding veil holding up the picture of the naked bird, Maria looks so sensual and vulnerable and defenseless in that picture, like theres absolutely nothing she can do to stop me shoving my knob in her incredible mouth and unloading half a pint of spunk down her stunning throat.

Richard Dawkins said...

In that picture of Maria lying on her stomach with her jeans on, imagine pulling her jeans off (and her knickers if she was wearing any obviously), the sight you would see would be akin to seeing the face of god ! ! !.

Anonymous said...

"avant-garde/arthouse horror porn flicks"

Too bad modern purveyors of this type of film, like Thomas Zupko (Attic, The Abyss, Opera, Shades of Hades) and Jack the Zipper, have seemingly fallen off the radar.

Though one-off efforts like Gary Dean Orona's Sanatorium and Lew Xypher's (...) Malice in Lalaland (both of which I believe managed to get shot on 35mm) still occasionally crop up.