"Last Tango In Paris" Is Released
Last Tango in Paris (Italian: Ultimo Tango a Parigi) is a 1973 Italian film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci which portrays a recent American widower who takes up an anonymous sexual relationship with a young, soon-to-be-married Parisian woman.
It stars Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider and Jean-Pierre Léaud. The film's raw portrayal of sexual violence and emotional turmoil led to international controversy and drew various levels of government censorship. The MPAA gave the film an X rating upon release in the United States. After revisions were made to the MPAA ratings code, it was classified as an NC-17 in 1997. MGM released a censored R-rated cut in 1981. The film has its NC-17 rating for "some explicit sexual content."
In Bernardo Bertolucci's art-house classic, Marlon Brando delivers one of his characteristically idiosyncratic performances as Paul, a middle-aged American in "emotional exile" who comes to Paris when his estranged wife commits suicide. Chancing to meet young Frenchwoman Jeanne (Maria Schneider), Paul enters into a sadomasochistic, carnal relationship with her, indirectly attacking the hypocrisy all around him through his raw, outrageous sexual behavior. Paul also hopes to purge himself of his own feelings of guilt, brilliantly (and profanely) articulated in a largely ad-libbed monologue at his wife's coffin. If the sexual content in Last Tango is uncomfortably explicit (once seen, the infamous "butter scene" is never forgotten), the combination of Brando's acting, Bertolucci's direction, Vittorio Storaro's cinematography, and Gato Barbieri's music is unbeatable, creating one of the classic European art movies of the 1970s, albeit one that is not for all viewers. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide