The news of the death of Maria Schneider allows me to think about her role in Last Tango in Paris. Although her career continued 40 years after this role, it defined her, perhaps haunted her. Years later, she would say in interviews that she regretted doing the film. To her frustration, her professional acting career would never outlive her performance in that role.
Maria Schneider captures the spirit of a disillusioned young girl who gets in over her head while dealing with a middle aged man's mid-life crisis (after the suicide of his wife). Brando's unabashed emotional frankness appears as the most natural, releaxed 'acting'. Their relationship was honest & brutal.
What do think about Last Tango in Paris?
It has some of the most raw emotions ever captured in a "mainstream" film. Its influence was enormous, its topics were taboo, however many people who I've recommended it to, find the story slow and boring. The overall tone of the story is sad, dark, brooding and somewhat lethargic. I loved the film in all its beauty and ugliness.
Overall I like the film and think it's definitly worth seeing, but the ending always felt a bit contrived. It felt like Bertolucci couldn't think of a way to end the film, so he was like,"Fuck it, just have her shoot him." Kinda like he took the easy was out.
If his heart was set on having the character dead at the end, he should have just had Brando shoot himself. That still wouldn't have been a very good ending, but it at least would have been more realistic than having the last sceen playout the way it did.
I first saw the movie at a drive-in theater. The assholes put the lights on before the finish, and it obliterated the parts of the screen showing her over the drawer where she gets the gun and the gun itself.
Hence, when I heard the shots and saw Brando walk out onto the balcony, stick his chewing on the rail and then collapse, I thought it was Bertolucci's stylized way of depicting Paul have a heart attack after chasing her upstairs to her apartment.
A tribute to Maria Schneider, Lena Nyman and Tura Satana in this week's Time.
"They provided a view of the bold, confrontational, sexually liberated woman .... from the perspective, that is, of the avid, controlling men behind the camera and in the audience."
"Some women, like Tura Satana, enjoy the attention; others, like Lena Nyman, take it in stride; still others, like Schneider, feel they're the victims of cinematic rape. All, though, whether eager volunteers or reluctant draftees, were soldiers in the battle for a free and mature movie culture. Schneider, Satana and Nyman deserve our respect for fighting in the vanguard, on the front lines, of a war over the movies that was won in the '60s and is largely forgotten today."
Tura Satana a "sex kitten"?
Let's get fucking real, here.
I'm not denying she's a formidable pussy cat.
But a "kitten"?
For a filmography on Maria Schneider's career: