Last Tango in Paris?............great film?????


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So........if you've not seen the film. In the last ten years it's been 'outed' that Marlon Brando was guilty of on screen rape of Maria Schneider, with supposed complicity from director Bernardo Bertolucci.  Seeing this film as a young man, I was convinced it was one of the greatest films every made, and a part of me still does. I realise many on here consider nothing greater than "Die hard II" in artistic merit, and indeed, I do love me some "Yippikaiyemotherfuchker", but I'm interested.................if something has achieved excellence in the highest echelons of art, should it be disqualified if it's fallen foul of human rights etc. in the modern era ..................my gut feeling it yes.   Rape is rape and regardless of any discerned qualities of the film, as a society we should show it a very firm cold shoulder.

that said, its so rare, as a species we investigate, or learn anything about ourselves, and this film cast a magnifying glass over all of us, sexuality, ageing, and death. 

For example, Caravaggio,  killed, or ordered the death of numerous people. His murderous history well known, his paintings still stand in the most prestidgeous galleries all over the world. 

Do we value artistic greatness over the law????

 

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Last Tango in Paris: Yuck. There's a big difference between an artist who was a jerk in real life and a film that depicts an actual sexual assault. 

Die Hard 2: Second Greatest Christmas Movie of All Time. What's not to love about porcelain guns, grenades with 20 second fuzes, and planes over IAD that choose to run out of gas before landing at BWI or DCA? 

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7 minutes ago, RijkdeGooier said:

Without making a statement in this particular case, it is always questionable to judge the past on todays standard. 

Very interesting comment, I agree in some part, but the greater part of me goes "crazy!!! no of course not", but as you pointed out (very accurately) , that sensibility has been grown through education and time.   I imagine the terrible sensibility of Marlon and Bernado, was that, it was some sort of blurred lines between method acting, and "living the role". That said, it counts for nothing...........The film focuses on a love story with many complex turns and twists......now, as a final twist, like an extra scene, we see that this film almost self destructs, like a Mission Impossible tape.   The toxicity of it consumes itself.......but for a certain time..........Jesus, it 'was' a great film

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Just to be clear...Brando didn’t rape Schneider. Rather, Brando and the film director conspired to add the butter to the scene, (which was not in the script). Schneider said she was uncomfortable and angry about this and felt “as though she had been raped”. 

I’m not condoning what Brando did, but this isn’t rape. 

This nonsense of judging the past actions of people by standards or societal norms we hold today is detrimental is many ways. First of all, in my opinion, we need to learn from the past. Deifying individuals in history, on one hand, or sanitizing the record misses the purpose and value of anthropology. In the American South, they are tearing down war memorials for Confederate soldiers. I can’t understand how this is helpful or relevant. When everyone wants to live in a world where no one can be offended, we end up offending everyone. 

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10 minutes ago, bpm32 said:

There's a big difference between an artist who was a jerk in real life and a film that depicts an actual sexual assault. 

This is exactly the point, at one point in time I watched 'Last tango in Paris' and was convinced it was one of the greatest films ever made...........then in time, you learn of the dark dirty secrets of the performance..........in many ways the thread is about can you cristallyse an experience?.....even if time ends up sullying it?

For example,  if your Mother was what you considered to be without fault, and a angel from heaven......then later in life you find out she was a sex worker............your whole world spins on it's head.....but how do you change your feelings of the past.    Can people be judged in time frames? i.e "I'm not the person I was 20 yrs ago"   as we so often hear from war criminals these days.

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6 minutes ago, Markspring1978 said:

Just to be clear...Brando didn’t rape Schneider. Rather, Brando and the film director conspired to add the butter to the scene, (which was not in the script). Schneider said she was uncomfortable and angry about this and felt “as though she had been raped”. 

I’m not condoning what Brando did, but this isn’t rape. 

This nonsense of judging the past actions of people by standards or societal norms we hold today is detrimental is many ways. First of all, in my opinion, we need to learn from the past. Deifying individuals in history, on one hand, or sanitizing the record misses the purpose and value of anthropology. In the American South, they are tearing down war memorials for Confederate soldiers. I can’t understand how this is helpful or relevant. When everyone wants to live in a world where no one can be offended, we end up offending everyone. 

It's not in the script. They wanted her "real" reaction to it. So yes, I think it was just as bad. 

She abused drugs and attempted suicide after the filming of this.

Also kinda weird that she was a teenager at the time, and I'm pretty sure Brando was around 50?

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3 minutes ago, Markspring1978 said:

I’m not condoning what Brando did, but this isn’t rape. 

I'm happy to consider what your saying as fact, (as any other source), but I'm surprised as this is the first I've heard that it wasn't rape. 

I'm not a fan of judging peoples acts from different eras..........the only caveat is, if your acting like a chimp, long beyond the point where is arguable that you  'are' a chimp, then......well it's just bloody laziness, and if this it the case, we should be happy to delve into the past to a certain degree, and say "this person should of known better"

That said, part of my interest in this subject, is that, if we (as a people) are so eager to wipe the slate clean of all oddity, and perversion, do we rob ourselves of the art which actually asks questions.  For instance. "The Night Porter" dramatises the the relationship between a holocaust survivor and and ex SS soldier. It's one fo the best films ever made, but good lord!! it's hard to watch..........and would it ever be made today?

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5 minutes ago, Derboesekoenig said:

It's not in the script. They wanted her "real" reaction to it. So yes, I think it was just as bad. 

She abused drugs and attempted suicide after the filming of this.

Also kinda weird that she was a teenager at the time, and I'm pretty sure Brando was around 50?

They wanted Alan Rickman's real reaction too when they dropped him off that building.

 

Yes, I REALLY want this to turn into a Die Hard I and II thread.

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I agree it wasn't rape.  She wasn't sexually assaulted.  She was left out of the loop re: the butter and was humiliated because the director and/or Brando wanted an authentic reaction.  She didn't break scene.  She could have stopped it.  She consciously chose to continue acting throughout.  

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3 hours ago, bpm32 said:

They wanted Alan Rickman's real reaction too when they dropped him off that building.

 

Yes, I REALLY want this to turn into a Die Hard I and II thread.

Die hard I and II are, within their category, every bit as valuable as other films mentioned.  By this I mean if, I'm hung over, in my underpants, and have a grilled ham and cheese sandwich on my gut, and a cold beer in hand, then yes.......show me anything other than Die hard, or Weird Science, or Mall Rats, then i'll mess you up.

but.......... if I want to strain my brain, then watching Bruce Willis dance around a high rise in a vest, isn't my bag

 

3 hours ago, MD Puffer said:

I agree it wasn't rape.  She wasn't sexually assaulted.  She was left out of the loop re: the butter and was humiliated because the director and/or Brando wanted an authentic reaction.  She didn't break scene.  She could have stopped it.  She consciously chose to continue acting throughout.  

Hmmm, you say this very much like you were on set, and you were in constant discussion with all the actors???? Being surprised in a sexual nature, on camera, whilst everyone around you is aware of whats happening, could be considered an assault, both on your person, and your career.

For instance. apparently in the filming of Ben Hur, they excluded Charton Heston in some takes, and inserted suggestive scripts which inferred homosexuality, without his consent. 

Personally, I have no idea what actually happened, apart from the fact Schneider experienced lots of mental illness post to this part, and it doesn't sound very good which ever way you put it. 

 

3 hours ago, bpm32 said:

They wanted Alan Rickman's real reaction too when they dropped him off that building.

 

Yes, I REALLY want this to turn into a Die Hard I and II thread.

He was such a "Royal Hunt" that they wanted to show his face of horror as his horrid Rolex slips off his wrist. 

 

For anyone posting, what about Michaelangelo, Caravaggio, Oscar Wilde???  all have been connected to things like underage sex (even for their own times) should we look back and reconsider the 'greatness' of their art??

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3 minutes ago, 99call said:

For anyone posting, what about Michaelangelo, Caravaggio, Oscar Wilde???  all have been connected to things like underage sex (even for their own times) should we look back and reconsider the 'greatness' of their art??

See, this is what is unfortunate about our “gotcha” culture. I think because so many people are insecure with themselves, they find a certain level of satisfaction in highlighting the mistakes and failures of others. In reality, all of us are human beings that likely have learned a lot more from our failures than our successes. I would suggest that we enjoy the creative works of humans in the past without feeling the need to put them on a pedestal or dismiss them on account of their failures and/or flaws. 

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22 minutes ago, 99call said:

Hmmm, you say this very much like you were on set, and you were in constant discussion with all the actors???? Being surprised in a sexual nature, on camera, whilst everyone around you is aware of whats happening, could be considered an assault, both on your person, and your career.

For instance. apparently in the filming of Ben Hur, they excluded Charton Heston in some takes, and inserted suggestive scripts which inferred homosexuality, without his consent. 

Personally, I have no idea what actually happened, apart from the fact Schneider experienced lots of mental illness post to this part, and it doesn't sound very good which ever way you put it. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/12/05/why-the-last-tango-in-paris-rape-scene-is-generating-such-an-outcry-now/?utm_term=.41f42e64c19e

Bottom Line, the rape scene was in the script. The use of butter wasn’t. It is just a movie scene. Brando didn’t really have intercourse with her. Was is a low-grade form of sexual assault? Perhaps. But that doesn’t make it rape. 

My heart goes out to Schneider, but clearly she was dealing with a lot of issues. It is en vogue in the #metoo era we live in to assign blame for all sorts of grievances. But let’s just be intellectually honest, Schneider was an underage actor in a movie that I would never let my daughter participate in that had a scripted rape scene. At some point you have to take responsibility for your actions and life choices. 

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1 minute ago, Markspring1978 said:

See, this is what is unfortunate about our “gotcha” culture. I think because so many people are insecure with themselves, they find a certain level of satisfaction in highlighting the mistakes and failures of others. In reality, all of us are human beings that likely have learned a lot more from our failures than our successes. I would suggest that we enjoy the creative works of humans in the past without feeling the need to put them on a pedestal or dismiss them on account of their failures and/or flaws. 

I started this thread not to hang people out to dry, but to get and understand reactions like your own.  People are failed, and in some degree thats a relief, as we are all failed in different ways.   My question is, is how does it get quantified.  Jimmy Saville, was a notorious paedophile, which the nation and the world had a 100% consensus on as being the devil incarnate. but Oscar Wilde??? in some perverse way, we as a culture have done some sort of odd calculation, where we value is work, over is disgusting illegal personal life?    it just doesn't make sense

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50 minutes ago, 99call said:

Hmmm, you say this very much like you were on set, and you were in constant discussion with all the actors????

No.  And neither has anyone else who's been commenting.  The incident is well-documented however.

 

50 minutes ago, 99call said:

Being surprised in a sexual nature, on camera, whilst everyone around you is aware of whats happening, could be considered an assault, both on your person, and your career.

"Being surprised in a sexual nature" does not equal "rape".

50 minutes ago, 99call said:

For instance. apparently in the filming of Ben Hur, they excluded Charton Heston in some takes, and inserted suggestive scripts which inferred homosexuality, without his consent. 

 

I don't understand your point here.  I read this as a non sequitur.  Are you suggesting Charlton Heston was raped too?

50 minutes ago, 99call said:

Personally, I have no idea what actually happened, apart from the fact Schneider experienced lots of mental illness post to this part, and it doesn't sound very good which ever way you put it. 

The scene speaks for itself.  And you have formed an opinion as to what "actually happened"- you've accused Marlon Brando of raping her. 

There are dozens of crew within feet of her.  If she wanted it to stop then it was within her power.  She acted the entire scene however.  She may have regretted not stopping it afterward.  She may have been embarrassed or humiliated.  I don't know if anyone could say if her mental health and addiction issues were a sequelae of filming this movie or if her experience in the movie is merely incidental. 

Personally, I never cared for this or other artsy films.

All I'm saying is, what happened in that scene doesn't meet the definition of rape as I know it.

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3 minutes ago, MD Puffer said:

All I'm saying is, what happened in that scene doesn't meet the definition of rape as I know it.

Question?  the word and act of 'rape' equates to something that we all understand to be horrendous, and whilst I have no interest in s determining someone to be a rapist, you seem to have vary stringent guideline to mitigating any grey areas around what isn't rape? why?.  I have heard account for and against their being a rape on set in LTIP, I like many on here find it hard to believe that something like this was allowed to take place, but that doesn't mean that I believe anyone either way. 

An actor of actress in the first motion picture, desperate to make an impression, and unknowing of 'what goes' could be capable with going along with any situation that nervousness or imagination allows. 

The point of me starting this thread wasn't to get into some FOH courtroom debate, but more to say, do we denigrate artistic greatness, depending on how we feel comfortable with the personal lives of the artists in question?

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1 hour ago, 99call said:

For anyone posting, what about Michaelangelo, Caravaggio, Oscar Wilde???  all have been connected to things like underage sex (even for their own times) should we look back and reconsider the 'greatness' of their art??

Should COL Stuart's and MAJ Grant's (presumably) prior honorable service and heroism be considered in isolation from their terrible crimes on that snowy Christmas Eve of 1990?

In my opinion, no.

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2 hours ago, 99call said:

Question?  the word and act of 'rape' equates to something that we all understand to be horrendous, and whilst I have no interest in s determining someone to be a rapist, you seem to have vary stringent guideline to mitigating any grey areas around what isn't rape? why?.  I have heard account for and against their being a rape on set in LTIP, I like many on here find it hard to believe that something like this was allowed to take place, but that doesn't mean that I believe anyone either way. 

An actor of actress in the first motion picture, desperate to make an impression, and unknowing of 'what goes' could be capable with going along with any situation that nervousness or imagination allows. 

The point of me starting this thread wasn't to get into some FOH courtroom debate, but more to say, do we denigrate artistic greatness, depending on how we feel comfortable with the personal lives of the artists in question?

There's nothing wrong with lively debate.  Speaking for myself only- I view rape as a crime and certain elements should be met for someone to be guilty of it.

When you talk of a young actress who's desperate to get into the industry and she goes along with a situation that she later finds humiliating then - to me at least- you're speaking of ethics.  But the original post wasn't about whether Brando or the director were unethical.  The original post stated Brando was guilty of rape.  Specifically, "Marlon Brando was guilty of on screen rape..."

Actors ad lib and deviate from script- routinely.  Directors manipulate and handle actors in questionable ways to produce authentic specific reactions- routinely.

Was is ethical for Brando or the director to plan to add butter to the scene without informing Schneider?  No.  

Did it amount to rape?  Not in my view.

How do I personally reconcile that opinion?  That's difficult to articulate presently given that I have a toddler who just threw a bowl of Mongolian beef on the floor.  The quickest way that I could answer that question is to say that I imagine myself impaneled on a grand jury.  And because the prosecutor feels the evidence is not clear cut, puts the issue to me and the other grand jurors.  "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.  I ask you to return indictments for rape (in some lesser degree obviously) against Mr. Brando and Senor Bertolucci for not informing Ms. Schneider before a scene that a pat of butter was to be shoved down her pants during a scripted rape scene."

I'd vote to not indict.  That's not rape in my opinion. 

She was 19.  She was an adult.  She could have said no and not filmed the scene.  She could have walked away.  Instead, she went along with it.  She made what turned out to be a poor decision for herself.  That's life.

Some people are so desirous of fame and publicity, they'll do regrettable things to attain it.

Now, if your assertion is Brando and Bertolucci were unethical, sleazy, and leveraged her naivete to create the scene as they envisioned, then I'm in complete agreement.  She was humiliated.  She was embarrassed.  But she was not raped.  

You cannot legislate what they did on scene.  You cannot legislate morality.  You can legislate rape. 

 

 

2 hours ago, 99call said:

Question?  the word and act of 'rape' equates to something that we all understand to be horrendous, and whilst I have no interest in s determining someone to be a rapist, you seem to have vary stringent guideline to mitigating any grey areas around what isn't rape? why?.  

Precisely because rape is such a horrendous act.  Rape absolutely and necessarily must have a clear cut definition.  You can have other labels for lesser crimes but without a clear definition of what rape is it diminishes the trauma true rape victims suffer and tragically can lead to some people being accused of being rapists who did not commit rape ("Marlon Brando was guilty of on screen rape of Maria Schneider").

By the way- a very thought-provoking topic despite the time of year.  

And the dogs ate everything on the floor but the green beans.

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If I had to recommend Bernardo Bertolucci to the uninitiated, I would most certainly put forward 'The Conformist' and 'The Last Emperor' before I would recommend 'Last Tango in Paris'. However, 'Last Tango in Paris' is so infamous due to the sex scene that Bertolucci is unfairly known now for mainly this movie, in my opinion.

In regards to behaviour and creative endeavour, should we open up a 'can of worms' and discuss the likes of Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Phil Spector etc? What about Vincent Van Gogh? He could never settle in any town he stayed because no-one could stand him! I have empathy for the likes of Van Gogh and Carvaggio because to me they obviously had symptoms of mental illness, in today's society they may not even be creative, because they would have been given professional medical care. However, criminality is criminality and functioning socities need to maintain justice, law and order to protect and promote effective human relationships. So I have no problem with famous or powerful people being held to account for their actions.

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6 hours ago, MD Puffer said:

To that point, I admire, respect, or critique a piece of art on its own merit and not on the morality of the artist. We’re all imperfect to one degree or another. 

I think this is a really good point. trying to create something thats perfect.....of course can never be perfect. Things which reflect human failings are a great deal more important, in some way, a bit like the Japanese idea of 'Wabi Sabi'

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I’d challenge the position that the butter was the cause of her mental issues and drug abuse. 

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“Do we value artistic greatness over the law?”

No. The chickens are coming home to roost.

However, I would like to see more hard proof in a court of law, and fewer people condemned  without trial, based upon hearsay and circumstantial evidence. 

My understanding was that the presumption of innocence was one of the most basic tenets of democracy.

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