Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sex, Lies and Censorship: Last Tango in Paris

Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, Last Tango in Paris, 1972

Bernardo Bertolucci’s most infamous film, Last Tango In Paris, was premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 14th, 1972. With its explicit portrayals of violent sex and emotional turbulence, the film instigated a critical uproar. Beginning with walkouts and denunciations, escalating into boycotts and bans, and climaxing in an obscenity trial, the backlash seemed to know no bounds. And yet, even in its earliest reviews, Last Tango In Paris was recognised and commended as a work of cinematic genius. Forty years later, questions are still being asked about the film’s true nature; is it a brilliant psychosexual exploration, or simply a glorified piece of pornography?

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