1972, December 22 – POLICE SEIZE COPIES OF “LAST TANGO”

“Seize all copies and burn them !”shouted the Bologna, Italy prosecutor,“self serving pornography, that’s all it is” he continued with indignation…to thunderous acclaim, the film “Last Tango in Paris” had been released in Italy on December 15, 1972…one week later, police seized all copies and its director Bernardo Bertolucci, its producer Alberto Grimaldi and actress Maria Schneider were arrested and put on trial for obscenity….Following a series of sensational trials and appeals, the fate of the movie was sealed when on January 26, 1976 the Italian Supreme Court ruled all copies to be destroyed…its director Bernardo Bertolucci was served with a four-month suspended sentence in prison and had his civil rights revoked for five years…it was not until 1987, fifteen years later, that the censorship ban was finally revoked and for the official release of the film permitted…Indeed the film’s raw portrayal of sexual violence and emotional turmoil led to international controversy…about it Time Magazine was to write, “any movie goer who is not shocked, titillated, disgusted, delighted or angered by this early scene in Bernardo Bertolucci’s new movie Las Tango In Paris, should be patient…

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The film portrays an American, Paul, whose wife commits suicide…while waiting for his wife’s funeral, seeking to purge himself of his feelings of guilt, he  initiates an anonymous, sadomasochistic, sexual relationship with a young Parisian woman he happens to meet by chance. ..Bernardo Bertolucci quite openly admitted that the idea for the film grew from a sexual fantasy, “I once dreamt of seeing a beautiful, seductive, nameless woman walking on the street and having sex with her without ever knowing who she really was”…actress Maria Schneider, who plays the young girl, was to say years later that making the film was the only regret she had; that it had actually ruined her life, “I felt humiliated and to be brutally honest a little raped by both Marlin and Bertolucci”...Marlon Brando received an academy award for best actor and Bernardo Bertolucci was nominated for best director

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