Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Lie to me. Once more with feeling.

Now that Maria Schneider (Last Tango in Paris) is no more, Bernardo Bertolucci, who directed it, belatedly expressed regret for robbing the actress of her youth. Sophie Taylor who wrote the above-cited article in The First Post on 4 February, writes that both Schneider as well as her co-star felt exploited and humiliated by their participation in the movie. The actress of course was a newcomer and, presumably, inexperienced when she got her $4000 break in Last Tango because Bertolucci’s first choice, Dominique Sanda, went hors de combat owing to an ill-timed pregnancy. But Brando was no starry-eyed ingĂ©nue. He was a veteran and quite capable of judging the implications of his role. In any case, this kind of talk from actors and directors makes me want to puke. As Hitch and Ashok Kumar would have said, it’s only a film for heaven’s sake. What you do on screen is acting. It has nothing to do with what you happen to be off screen. In the snippet of Last Tango I saw on YouTube, both Brando and Schneider seemed to have got under the skin of their respective characters – real troopers that they were! – and enjoyed themselves while they were doing this crucial scene. So why all those pious after-thoughts, I wonder.