REVIEWED
6/13/04

STORY



LOOK

Last Tango In Paris
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Year: 1973
TRT: 2:10


Well...this movie has a weird taboo to it because of it's sexual nature. And while it's never explicit in the showing, there's some situations that would make the prude a bit uncomfortable. Sure you have the young French lead showing some of that gigantic 70s bush from time to time, but what we're dealing with here is a French arthouse movie (it supposedly takes place in Paris, hence the title) that wraps anonymity, sexual fantasy, and blasé facades into a pretty sad (as in remorseful, not lame) kind of story.

An available flat for rent in Paris attracts two interested people simultaneously. One is an older American "gentleman" who seems to have some issues, and the other a young Parisian actress/model who's looking for a flat away from home. They form a bond of a strictly anonymous and physical nature. As much as it seems to work for them, reality slowly comes creeping in, and their little haven of escape doesn't have much chance in lasting.

Brando's aging, somewhat crass character has a great line. When she asks him what they are doing, he says, "Well... let's just say we're taking a flying fuck at a rolling donut." Crude and vulgar, but not only is it a great fucking line, it really describes his outlook on life as he now knows it. His mental state of mind doesn't allow him much more beyond this as his reality seems to be pretty much shot, and little else will give him comfort. While the story drags a bit too long, Brando delivers a good performance as the isolated, jaded point of view on life. Go figure. It's kinda strange to think why the French girl Jeanne would keep coming back to this arrangement, but considering her flaky filmmaking fiance and lack of any other real interests, I guess there's motivation enough. Maybe. And a love of butter, apparently. The score can be a bit overbearing at times in its 70s art-nouveau/porno kind of way.

Great Scene: The last tango, with its implications, is played out perfectly. And Brando's little monologue about him growing up. Perfect stilted yet powerful delivery.

DVD Notes: The transfer can be a little hacked at times from Columbia/Tri-Star that also includes a trailer comprising of stills from the movie and some of the cheezy 70s sax score, and subtitles.