'Last Tango In Paris' Rape Scene Controversy Is A 'Misunderstanding:' Bertolucci

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The director of "Last Tango In Paris" is backtracking on comments he made in a 2013 interview where he suggested the film's rape scene was non-consensual.

In a 2013 interview, Bernardo Bertolucci said that then 19-year-old actress Maria Schneider was not told about a rape scene where Marlon Brando's character uses a stick of butter as lubricant during a sexual assault.

On Monday the director released a statement in Italian brushing his previous comments under the rug, saying it was all just a "ridiculous misunderstanding:"

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 Cinemathèque Francaise 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.

He added that the only addition that wasn't in the script was the butter, not the violence of the scene.


In 2007 Schneider told the Daily Mail that she was crying real tears when the scene was filmed. The assault wasn't part of the movie's original script, she said.

"I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn't console me or apologize. Thankfully, there was just one take."

Bertolucci's weak response wasn't enough for many in Hollywood, including director Ava DuVernay and actors Chris Evans, Evan Rachel Wood and Jessica Chastain, who called out Bertolucci and Brando's actions on Twitter.


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