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“I fascisti non sono mica come i funghi, che nascono così, in una notte. No. I fascisti sono stati i padroni a seminarli, li hanno voluti, li hanno pagati. E coi fascisti i padroni hanno guadagnato sempre di più, al punto che non sapevano più dove metterli i soldi. Così hanno inventato la guerra. Ci hanno mandato in Africa, in Russia, in Grecia, in Albania, in Spagna! Ma chi paga siamo sempre noi! Chi paga: il proletariato, gli operai, i contadini, i poveri!” . Questa è una delle citazioni più significative di Olmo Dalcò (Gerard #Depardieu), uno dei protagonisti di #Novecento, film del maestro Bernardo #Bertolucci che è venuto a mancare oggi dopo una lunga malattia. #Regista autodidatta, mosse i suoi primi passi al fianco di Pier Paolo #Pasolini, che lo suggerì per la regia e la sceneggiatura di Milieu insieme a Sergio #Citti. Nella sua lunga carriera Bertolucci ha realizzato film di straordinario impatto come appunto Novecento, affresco imponente delle lotte contadine dell’Italia nei primi decenni del Secolo Breve fino all’avvento del fascismo e allo scoppio della Seconda guerra mondiale. E poi Ultimo Tango a Parigi, Piccolo Buddha, e L’Ultimo Imperatore, grazie al quale vinse l’#Oscar nel 1987. Ricordiamo anche Prima della Rivoluzione, pellicola anticipatrice dei movimenti giovanili che sfociarono nella contestazione del ’68. Nel corso della sua lunga carriera Bertolucci realizzò film tanto con attori di fama internazionale, come #Brando, #DeNiro, #DonaldSutherland, #BurtLancaster e molti altri, quanto con persone comuni prese dalle #periferie #povere delle #città. #grandecinemaitaliano #storiadelcinema #olmodalcò #gerarddepardieu #maestro #bernardobertolucci
Today, another prominent figure passed away. Bernardo Bertolucci is a great filmmaker—that much, we can say. If you’re not familiar with him, he’s an Italian director and for most of the 21st century, has been considered an icon in contemporary film. But if you notice, the headlines about his death don’t celebrate him. And rightfully so. His most notable work was Last Tango in Paris. It’s a provocative tale with a racy affair at the center, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. When it first came out in 1970, it was celebrated as a masterful work of art. However, it lost its status and went from being praised to being abhorred in 2016, when a video of the director resurfaced wherein he admits to filming that infamous butter rape scene without Maria’s consent. When this came out, we were beyond outraged. And news of him passing away proves that we, along with the rest of the world, still hasn’t gotten over it.
Though Maria cleared up in 2007 that no actual sexual intercourse took place on set, she revealed that it was just as traumatic for her. “During the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn’t real, I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and, to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and Bertolucci.” She was just 19 at the time of filming. Years after its release, she struggled with drug addiction and depression. Finally, she passed away in 2011 due to cancer.
I remember reading about this in 2016 when the news first blew up. I’m not an expert, but I am a fan of auteur films. And one of Bertolucci’s works, The Dreamers, touched me. When I watched it years before the controversy came up, I have already pledged myself a fan of the director. So this came as a shock for me. I had conflicting emotions. I thought, “Can I still love The Dreamers knowing its creator was a monster?” And another, more pressing question: “Should art be viewed separately from the artist?”
Earlier this month, another great mind passed away: Stan Lee. And people were quick to mourn his loss and celebrate his legacy—while conveniently forgetting about his previous sexual misconduct allegations. As if his death absolved him from all that. Okay, in the spirit of partiality, he was never really found guilty of anything. That’s why Bertolucci is different because he blatantly admitted to committing sexual assault. While, technically, he didn’t do anything, what he did was equally unforgivable.
This applies to my feelings for Marlon Brando too. He may be one of the greatest actors in history, but that doesn’t absolve him of his sin. And his claim of being a victim of Bertolucci’s “manipulation” in no way excuses his behavior. He is every bit as responsible for that disgusting scene as Bertolucci is. I only wish he was more remorseful than the director was, who infamously said, “I feel guilty but I do not regret. To make movies sometimes to obtain something we have to be completely free. I didn’t want Maria to act her humiliation, her rage, I wanted Maria to feel, not to act.”
In other words, he thought it was okay; that creative license excused him from that vile act. He puts “genius filmmaker” first before “decent human being” so it doesn’t matter that he destroyed the life of a young woman, just as long as he got his perfect shot.
Do I lament his loss in the world of film? Absolutely not. The only thing I mourn for is the fact that Maria never got the justice she deserved.
Photo courtesy of @associazione_aurora’s Instagram account
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Director Bernardo Bertolucci may have passed, but we will never forget what he did
Bernardo Bertolucci describes the Last Tango in Paris backlash as a ‘ridiculous misunderstanding’
Our shock over ‘butter rape’ is a delayed reaction
The butter rape scene in Last Tango in Paris wasn’t consensual