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Last Tango in Paris back to product details

1972 feels like a long time ago
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written by SBarnett August 31, 2006 - 1:47 PM PDT
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
When this film came out I thought it was the greatest film ever made, that Brando and Bertolucci were ushering in a golden age of cinema, that the US was on the verge of a cultural revolution, if not a political one, that anything was possible now that real sex and real emotion--real art--was available to everyone on the big screen. I came out of the theater that night with a group of exhilarated friends, and we stayed that way for days talking nonstop about the film and everything else. Seeing it now, alone in front of my TV set, I came away from it devastated, not nostalgic but aware of everything we've lost since then--and what we've gained. As Roger Ebert said in his excellent 2004 review after Brando's death, time has shown that this film marked the end of something, not the beginning. Now I can appreciate its overwhelming loneliness, the superhuman effort Brando/Paul makes to try to be human again, the innocence and confusion and willfulness of Maria Schneider/Jeanne, the terror and the abyss on the tango floor, the dismal future created in the final scene. This time Brando's magnificent soliloquy beside his wife's corpse (probably his best moment as an actor) brought me tears, not liberation. The film isn't what changed during all those years...and my reaction to it now is a tribute to its bravery and skill and power.

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(Average 6.46)
316 Votes
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