To begin with, Last Tango in Paris is a landmark in film history, it's Bertolucci's most psychological film, and a breakthrough conventional censorship, banned for almost ten years, Last Tango is brooding and sensual, raw and miserable, Maria Schneider appears here so voluptuous and everlasting, can't blame Brando's character (Paul), to become mad, she is both a child and a woman, a combination no one can resist (your sex doesn't matter), the ultimate object of sexual Catharsis, becoming wrath. This is a chamber piece, a conceptual story in the minds of its two protagonist, enters Marlon Brando; Paul's construction couldn't be more close to Brando's psychological truth, it is his most alike character, and Brando just exudes all of his unlimited potential, skills, and mastery of the acting art, delivering one of the most perfect performances in all movie history, a must for every student of acting and for any aspiring director in much concern of his or hers actor's performance. Complex, incomprehensible, silent in sorrow and in much pain, but completely lost in a duel because of his dead wife, this is Paul, egoist, manipulative, the world moves because of him, even at his lowest hour of pathetic self indulgent anal ways, Paul is everything inside the Apartment, and nothing outside of it. Enters Maria Schneider; Jeanne a French beauty (just in her early twenties), cast in a child like role with the sweetness and seduction of a Lolita, only this time is both voluptuous and dependent of a real man's love, Schneider is just unforgettable in this seductive character, and her performance is first class, a woman of its time: unbreakable, untouchable, daggling in distress, from there to discipline, all the complicated self-destructive bound, because she's nothing, an object of animation, a subjective mannequin, beaten into submission, raping again and again.
The apartment is the metaphor to their relation, un-scout even approaching the movie's end, it stands in much need of human candor, but the human condition won't let this happen, and Paul and his beauty will be forced to crash against one another, it's pure ruin and misery, and Bertolucci cages this and much more that doesn't meets the eye, with that masterful direction that only exist in the very best. Alas, it resembles the relation of a father with his daughter, with that daddy's care for her, and her Oedipus lust that can't be ignore, but doomed to die, shackled Paul's princess, Jeanne is here to carry with the burden of a long gone will to just be in comfort when the moment of excitement, that's why they don't need names inside the apartment; Frantic or Therapeutic?
The photography is achieved with smooth and cold colors that only the erotic European films possessed in the 70's and 80's, Vittorio Sttoraro gives and unforgettable atmosphere to the story, he knew it by heard, and so Bertolucci, you will always remember the Tango Dance Contest Mad Scene, it is the very essential way of photography, direction, and real acting, all in one, based in a perfect and sensible raw script. The beautiful and haunting music score, adds more atmosphere and strength to the already powerful images.
The DVD edition comes with an excellent transferring of the film, surely it looks as good as the day it was released, but the lack of additional material makes you want to know more about this mythical movie (the edition comes with a very illustrative eight page booklet, with inside information about the film's history, but a full length documentary would have give a much entertaining and depth view of the film), again the transferring is a fine work of good visuals and sounds, and the best of all, it is the uncut and uncensored version, as Bertolucci originally intended to be shown in Theaters back in the middle 70's, when everything was still uptight for such a film, there was no problem at all with the nude scenes, the problem was about the moral violence that the picture depicted in a way that no one had dare before to showed in the big screen, from there it came its heavily censorship, the psychological alternation of the most devastating loneliness and the filth and stink of the Human Insight Tremors, shown here with the intention to shock, not to move. Controversial still.