Thursday, November 7, 2013

Last Tango In Paris (1972)

WHO: Bernardo Bertolucci directed this.

WHAT: If it's not the most well-known film I've never seen, it's at least got to be the most well-known foreign film made before I was born that I've never seen. Why haven't I at some point checked it out? I'm not quite sure but I don't feel so bad about that after reading these lines from Roger Ebert's addendum to his oriiginal review after revisiting the film in 1995:
I once had a professor who knew just about everything there was to know about Romeo and Juliet, and told us he would trade it all in for the opportunity to read the play for the first time. I felt the same way during the screening: I was so familiar with the film that I was making contact with the art instead of the emotion.
WHERE/WHEN: Tonight only at the Yerba Buena Center For the Arts at 7:30 PM.

WHY: Marlon Brando, were he still around, would probably prefer I didn't feature this film on my blog today. He'd probably rather I point out the ongoing American Indian Film Festival, one of the longest-running yet the most consistently overlooked of all Frisco Bay film festivals. (I only attended for the first time in 2012 and returned to see a couple films this year, but so far I've yet to see something there that wasn't worthwhile.) Or perhaps another local festival happening this weekend that I'm probably not going to be able to squeeze in a mention of, worthy as it might be: the 3rd i South Asian Film Festival for example, or the California Independent Film Festival or the Transgender Film Festival or the Poppy Jaspar International Short Film Festival.

But I can't resist. Last Tango In Paris is what's really on my mind today. It's one of those I'd always wanted to get around to seeing, but put off until another day. With a 35mm print coming to town and no other major plans I think that might just be today. The occasion is the launch of YBCA's X: The History of a Film Rating series investigating films that have been at one point or another given the MPAA's most restrictive rating. Lincoln Spector has offered an excellent summary of the series and its historical basis (though if he thinks Fritz The Cat, which screens at YBCA next Thursday, is really the only X-rated cartoon and not just the first one, he must be lucky enough to have avoided director Ralph Bakshi's follow-up Heavy Traffic and the wave of other adult-oriented animation that came in their wake.)  I suspect this series was organized with at least half an eye on the expected controversy coming with the release of the NC-17 top Cannes prize-winner Blue Is The Warmest Color this past week. 

HOW: All programs in the YBCA's series screen from 35mm prints.

1 comment:

  1. For the span of about fifteen minutes – from the start of the opening credit sequence until Paul and Jeanne make love against the window and then leave the apartment they will spend a great deal of the movie in together – this film is cinematic glory at its greatest. The possibilities for the motion picture as a full blown art form are exploited to spectacular advantage in almost every way possible before the flick, unfortunately, starts a gradual slide into cliché, sensationalism, and melodramatic slop, as well as a real slowdown in the sheer virtuosity of the filmmaking. What a start!!!