Arlecchino Cinema > 10:45


Bernardo Bertolucci
Introduced by

Bernardo Bertolucci


Wednesday 29/06/2016


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Even before The Godfather was released, Brando had the good fortune to perform in another comeback film whose success, together with that of Coppola’s film, brought him back to the front ranks of superstardom. […] The film’s success was largely due to scandal: the reference to a particular use for butter became proverbial and to launch the film in America, United Artists made use of two significant assets. Firstly, a critical one provided by an exceptional and unexpected eulogy from Pauline Kael in the “New Yorker” (28 October 1972) after the New York Film Festival screening (three months before its official New York ‘debut’) in which she compared the screening to the opening of Stravinskij’s Le sacre du printemps. Secondly, that of the scandal created by the Italian courts who prosecuted the film’s authors under irrational and sex-phobic grounds worthy of Pope Pius XII. […] The actors were to have been Jean-Louis Trintignant, who was unavailable due to prior commitments, and in the female role, Dominique Sanda, who was also unavailable as she was pregnant. The intellectual dimension of the film won out, while Paul and Jeanne interpreted by Brando and Maria Schneider assumed a more provocative depth and hue – morbidity and mellowness. In the case of Brando this was due to the instinctive, confusedly experimental and ‘American’ connotations that came with his ‘mask’; in the case of Schneider it was due to her physical, rather than cerebral, strength, immediate and more ‘modern’ than that of Sanda, even if equally that of a ‘bourgeois Parisian’. Seen together, it derived from their differences, in age, culture and appearance.
For his part, and without the mediation that had been required in earlier times, Brando contributed a performance of a character not too far removed from his own experience, delivered in accordance with the teachings of the Method, to the point of making the character in certain moments an explicit confessional. […]
Doutless his achievement in Tango is much more significant than that of The Godfather, which is entirely exterior. However, it is precisely from a comparison between two performances which are so different (the first entirely mimetic, driven by intellect and training; the second predominantly ‘lived’ as a psychodrama) that it is possible to judge the skill of an actor who is more than just an actor, but part of the collective imaginary.

Goffredo Fofi

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Bernardo Bertolucci. Scen.: Bernardo Bertolucci, Franco Arcalli. F.: Vittorio Storaro. M.: Franco Arcalli, Roberto Perpignani. Scgf.: Ferdinando Scarfiotti. Mus.: Gato Barbieri. Int.: Marlon Brando (Paul), Maria Schneider (Jeanne), Jean- Pierre Léaud (Tom), Massimo Girotti (Marcel), Maria Michi (madre di Rosa), Giovanna Galletti (prostituta), Catherine Allégret (Catherine), Catherine Breillat (Mouchette), Marie-Hélène Breillat (Monique), Veronica Lazare (Rosa). Prod.: Alberto Grimaldi per PEA, Productions Artistes Associés. 35mm. D.: 129’. Col.