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Other titles in the BFI Modern Classics series:
BFI Modern Classics: Last Tango in Paris
Synopses & Reviews
"Last Tango left me depleted and exhausted. Some of the pain I was experiencing was my very own. Thereafter I decided to make my living in a way that was less devastating emotionally." Thus Marlon Brando recalled, in his autobiography, making Last Tango in Paris.
Bernardo Bertolucci's graphic and harrowing account of sexual obsession, grief, psychic breakdown, and murder premiered in 1972 at the New York Film Festival. The print was escorted to the screening by armed guards. On the film's subsequent release in Italy, Bertolucci, Brando, co-star Maria Schneider, and producer Alberto Grimaldi were indicted on obscenity charges and found guilty. Controversy and censorship dogged the film, but it was a great commercial and critical success. Venerated New Yorker critic Pauline Kael called Last Tango "the most powerfully erotic movie ever made."
David Thompson's fluent account of Last Tango in Paris details the conception, production, and fortunes of the film. Drawing on a new and extensive interview with Bertolucci, Thompson shows how the film crystallized Bertolucci's interest in art, literature, and psychoanalysis, and how it was realized through the consummate skills of cast and crew. Ending with a discussion of how important this film is for an understanding of Brando, Schneider, and Jean-Pierre Leaud, Thompson unravels the brilliance of Last Tango in Paris' depiction of human behavior and emotion.
Although controversy dogged "Last Tango in Paris", it was a great commercial and critical success. This account details the conception, production and fortunes of the film, and examines its depiction of human emotion and behaviour. David Thompson draws on an extensive interview with Bertolucci.
About the Author
David Thompson is a producer of arts documentaries at the BBC. He has made profiles of such directors as Jean Renoir, Quentin Tarantino, and Milos Forman, and is the coeditor of Scorsese on Scorsese.
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