last-tangoI revisited Bernardo Bertolucci’s early 70’s classic Last Tango In Paris for the first time in many years and although it is undeniably dated there are also some incredible visual compositions and moments of emotional honesty that certainly stand the test of time. Marlon Brando delivers one of his last great performances as the recent widower Paul, a complicated character kept purposely abstract. Much of the acting in the film, particularly Brando’s, relied heavily on improvisation and this brings mixed results but there are several scenes in the movie, including the one referenced in the title, that are simply unforgettable and not just, “Bring me the butter.” This is a fall movie, with its palette of orange, black and grey influenced heavily by the painter Francis Bacon. The film became infamous for its sex scenes, and that certainly plays a central part in the film, but there are ideas of identity, family and loss that elevate Last Tango well past a boiler plate erotic thriller.

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