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Ultimo Tango a Parigi (Last Tango in Paris) is a 1972 Italian drama film (though with French and English dialogue) directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.
Paul (Brando), a 45-year old American who lives and owns a hotel abroad in Paris, is mourning the suicide of his wife when he meets Parisan woman Jeanne (Schneider) whilst apartment hunting. Jeanne herself is engaged to a film director, though Paul does not know this initially. The two feel lonely and marginalized, so they begin a torrid affair, of which the rules, as set by Paul, are that they do not tell each other any personal details about themselves; not even their names. As time goes by, Paul becomes possessive and starts to act abusively towards Jeanne; in one infamous scene he anally rapes her using butter as lubricant. He has fallen in love with her, and wants her for himself. He tries to pressure her into leaving her fiancee and telling him her name, and eventually she is left with no choice but to kill him by gunshot, thus ending the film.
When released, the film's groundbreaking subject matter caused a media frenzy and Moral Guardian outrage; despite some glowing critical reception and Academy Award nominations for Brando and Bertolucci. It is regarded nowadays as one of the best European films and best arthouse films ever made. It could be considered the progenitor of the Euroshlock genre. It is an obvious influence on the films of Catherine Breillat (who herself has a small appearance in the film), specifically Romance and Anatomy of Hell, both of which would help to revive the Euroshlock genre in the 2000s.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys
- Banned in China: Chile banned for nearly 30 years. Also, it was banned in its country of origin, Italy, until 1987.
- Bastard Boyfriend
- Chekhov's Gun: quite literally.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: inverted at the end when Paul becomes the Spear Counterpart and effectively a Stalker with a Crush
- Dark and Troubled Past: Paul's emotional baggage over his wife's suicide and arguably Jeanne's childhood
- Downer Ending
- Dysfunction Junction
- Enforced Method Acting: Schneider was really not happy with some of the things she was made to do, and said later that some of her tears in the film were real.
- Brando, as ever, refused to memorize his lines, so at some points when he's talking to his dead wife, he dramatically raises his eyes to the ceiling--he's reading his lines off a piece of paper stuck up there.
- Euroshlock: Arguably, the Trope Maker. Also comparatively mild compared to other Euroshlock films.
- Fan Service: Schneider gets nekkid. Brando doesn't, however. He did in the original cut, but Bernardo removed the scene. Sorry, ladies.
- Flash Back
- I Kiss Your Foot
- Instant Seduction (or possibly rape...it's a little vague)
- It's Not Rape If You Enjoyed It: the "consensuality" of many of the sex scenes is...questionable
- Jerkass: Paul
- Licensed Sexist: Paul inherited some underlying baggage from his dead wife
- Love Hurts: a principle theme, figuratively and literally.
- Love Martyr: Jeanne to start, then Paul when he decides to pursue an actual emotional relationship with her at the end, eventually literally embodying this trope.
- Love Triangle: a particularly dark one of Type 7 in Triang Relations
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places
- Manly Tears
- Murder the Hypotenuse: the Downer Ending
- Rape Is Love
- Right Through His Pants: twice, including the infamous "butter" scene.
- Stockholm Syndrome: possible reason for Jeanne's always returning to Paul despite how poorly he treats her.
- Survivor Guilt
- The Grunting Orgasm
- Romantic False Lead: Jeanne's movie director boyfriend/fiance who's so thoroughly absorbed in his work that he treats her as much as scenery as a Love Interest
- Wall-Bang Her