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    Bernardo Bertolucci

    Bernardo Bertolucci Admits Last Tango in Paris Rape Scene Was Not Consensual

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    A video from 2013 that has resurfaced recently shows renowned director Bernardo Bertolucci admitting that scenes from the late Maria Schneider’s role in “Last Tango in Paris,” which included some explicit episodes, were not consensual.

    According to the video clip, in 1972, Bertolucci and actor Marlon Brando conspired to shoot a rape scene where Brando's character assaults Schneider, who was 19 at the time of the events.

    The famous scene, in which Brando's character uses a stick of butter during a sexual assault, was not originally in the script. The two men told Schneider about that scene right before the filming.

    "The sequence of the butter is an idea that I had with Marlon in the morning before shooting," Bertolucci said in an event at La Cinémathèque Française, where he was speaking about Schneider, who had died two years before after a long struggle against cancer.

    According to Bertolucci, he decided to conspire with Brando, because he wanted Schneider to depict true, authentic emotions, to react "as a girl, not as an actress."

    "I wanted her to act humiliated. I think she hated me and also Marlon because we didn't tell her," Bertolucci said.

    "I didn't want Maria to act her humiliation, her rage, I wanted Maria to feel… the rage and humiliation. Then she hated me for all of her life."

    The scandalous role in "Last Tango in Paris" made Schneider famous, but also stigmatized her as a next-to-porn actress. After Bertolucci's film, she was offered similarly controversial roles many times. She took some of them, like role of Drusilla in Tinto Brass's "Caligula," but later rejected them. After "Last Tango in Paris," Schneider never shot another nude scene.

    "I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can't force someone to do something that isn't in the script, but at the time, I didn't know that. Marlon said to me, 'Maria, don't worry, it's just a movie,' but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn't real, I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci," she said in a 2007 interview.

    ​"After the scene, Marlon didn't console me or [apologize]. Thankfully, there was just one take."

    Schneider's drug use led to her being fired from several movies. Despite that, she worked in more than 50 films and television productions between 1969 and 2008. Schneider died of cancer in 2011.

    Remembering her, Bertolucci said, "Her death came too soon, before I could hold her again tenderly, and tell her that I felt connected to her as on the first day, and for once, to ask her to forgive me."


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    Interview, movie, Sexual Assault, Last Tango in Paris, Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Bernardo Bertolucci
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