Monday, March 15, 2021

Review of "Last Tango In Paris," VHS version

 Review of

Last Tango In Paris, VHS version

Five out of five stars

Groundbreaking and scandalous at the time (1972)

 While the censorship bounds were coming down when this film premiered, many were still in place. The basic plot devices of semi-willing sexual violence and what were then considered aberrant sexual practices caused a lot of sensation among the film industry and public.

 The basic premise of the plot is a simple one that has been used many times. Marlon Brando plays Paul, an American middle-aged man in Paris that is still in deep mourning over the death of his wife. When he tours an apartment, he meets Jeanne, played by Maria Schneider, also interested in the apartment. Even though Jeanne is engaged, she finds Paul fascinating and they begin a sexual affair. Paul has rented the apartment, so they have a place to meet. However, Paul is emphatic that their relationship be completely anonymous, he insists that they do not even tell each other their names.

 The relationship remains on sizzle for a while, until Jeanne arrives at the apartment and finds that Paul has packed and left with no warning. Later, they have a street meeting where Paul states that he wants to rekindle the relationship and learn more about each other. The exchange of the personal data destroys the thrill of anonymity for Jeanne, and she wants Paul out of her life. However, Paul does not want that, and the film ends in tragedy.

 Brando and Schneider turn in high quality performances, for Brando, he demonstrates that it can often be harder to play an unemotionally rigid person than someone whose emotions bubble over. While the story appears to be based on the “finding love again” premise, in fact it is nothing of the kind. Personal relationships take many forms, some healthy and fulfilling, others that are simply space filling thrills. Not only was there controversary about the movie, but even the actors engaged in significant spats with each other.

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