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Bernardo Bertolucci Claims Butter Angered the Actress, Not the Implied Anal Rape in ‘Last Tango in Paris’

A story about Last Tango in Paris has popped up again and got people angry.

In a 2007 interview, Maria Schneider talked about filming the infamous “butter scene” in Last Tango in Paris. If you haven’t seen the film, a 48-year-old Marlon Brando uses butter as lube and fucks a 19-year-old Schneider in the ass. It’s simulated sex, it wasn’t a porno, but it’s pretty disturbing. Maria’s character is not at all into it and it turns out neither was the actress.

Schneider said that that scene was never in the script. The day of the shoot, Bertolucci told her he felt like adding a like butt sex into the film and they’d be shooting it that day. Maria was upset, she never agreed to that and it was sprung on her on set, a place where a young actress has few options (if she walked off the set, she’d be branded a diva and very likely lose work in the future). She did agree to do the scene and though there was no real penetration, she “felt a little raped.” The tears in the scene were real.

In an interview in 2013, Bertolucci admitted that he and Brando thought of the scene on the fly and wanted to spring it on the actress because he “wanted Maria to feel, not to act, the rage and the humiliation.” Unfortunately, all acting is pretending things are happening and not actually experiencing them in the moment, otherwise death scenes would take a real toll on extras casting.

Bertolucci says over and over that they didn’t tell Maria and that she hated him and Brando for it for the rest of the shoot.

But now, Bertolucci claims it’s all a big misunderstanding.

“Several years ago at the Cinémathèque Française someone asked me for details on the famous butter scene. I specified, but perhaps I was not clear, that I decided with Marlon Brando not to inform Maria that we would have used butter. We wanted her spontaneous reaction to that improper use [of the butter]. That is where the misunderstanding lies. Somebody thought, and thinks, that Maria had not been informed about the violence on her. That is false!”

He goes on to say “The only novelty was the idea of the butter. And that, as I learned many years later, offended Maria. Not the violence that she is subjected to in the scene.”

Well, of course! That must be it. If someone told me, I’d get ass raped by Marlon Brandon in a movie that’s really about how great it is to fuck hot, strange girls, I’d be 100% on board. But butter! My God! How dare they put butter anywhere on my body! What an outrage! Okay, let’s get back to the out of the blue rape scene.

It is clear that this scene was sprung on Maria and that’s gross. It’s just another gross story in the plethora of gross Hollywood stories. The idea that everyone, celebrities included, are so shocked by this is crazy. This is a story that came out almost 10 years ago! When Maria mentioned it, no one apparently cared. And in one week from now, everyone will forget about this story, go back to not caring, and start talking again about the genius behind a movie about fucking in an empty loft with a murder thrown in.

Cosby’s many drug-rapes were well known for years by people surrounding Cosby and with public allegations. When Hannibal Buress, who spurred the flood of recent outrage, said “Google it,” he meant it. Claims of Cosby’s crimes were sitting on Wikipedia for years.

I guess my point is instead of being outraged and saying how shocking it is to know that a young actress felt abused in a film that already shows women in a horrible light and allowed a sexual relationship between a domineering 48-year-old and an 19-year-old to look normal and alluring, just think. Last Tango in Paris is a terrible film for women with or without abuse. Stop watching movies where women are just pawns or things to collect and fuck. Maybe when a woman or an actress says that something shitty happened, believe her at the time so she can have support and her abuser might get repercussions. Don’t wait til everyone’s dead and the remaining players are too beloved to fall.

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