Bernardo Bertolucci: Last Tango in Paris backlash “ridiculous misunderstanding”

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Much controversy has surrounded 1972 film Last Tango In Paris this week with an unearthed interview with its director Bernardo Bertolucci admitting that the infamous rape scene in the film involving stars Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider was non-consensual. Today, the Italian director has released a statement surrounding the controversy saying its all a “ridiculous misunderstanding.” (via Deadline).

In the statement, Bertolucci said:

“I would like for the last time to clear up a ridiculous misunderstanding that continues to generate press reports about ‘Last Tango in Paris’ around the world. Several years ago, at the Cinematheque Francaise, someone asked me for details on the famous butter scene. I specified, but perhaps was not clear, that I decided with Marlon Brando not to inform Maria that we would [use] butter.

“We wanted her spontaneous reaction to that improper use [of butter]. This is where the misunderstanding lies. Somebody thought, and thinks, that Maria had not been informed about the violence on her. That is false.”

“Maria knew everything because she had read the script, where it was all described. The only novelty was the idea of the butter.”

A video, from 2013, the director discusses the scene (in which Marlon Brando uses a stick of butter as a lubricant before raping Schneider’s character) and said that didn’t inform the actress of their intentions. In the video, Bertolucci said:

“We were having, with Marlon [Brando], breakfast on the floor of the flat where I was shooting. There was a baguette, there was butter and we looked at each other and, without saying anything, we knew what we wanted.”

Since the video surfaced, many of the Hollywood community as reacted negatively to it, with stars such as Chris Evans, Jessica Chastain, Evan Rachel Wood and Anna Kendrick have taken to social media to express their outrage.

What do you think of the controversy and Bertolucci’s comments?

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