Back to IndieWire

‘Last Tango in Paris’: Director Bernardo Bertolucci Says Infamous Rape Scene Was Not Consensual

The filmmaker describes how the scene was filmed in a newly surfaced video.

Last Tango in Paris” has always courted controversy and acclaim in roughly equal measure. That balance seems likely to tip with the revelation that an infamous rape scene involving Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider and a stick of butter was, in fact, non-consensual.

Bernardo Bertolucci has admitted as much in a newly surfaced interview from 2013 held at La Cinémathèque Française in Paris, saying that he “didn’t tell [Schneider] what was going on” because he wanted her to react “as a girl, not as an actress.” Watch the video below.

READ MORE: R.I.P. Maria Schneider (1952-2011)

Schneider was 19 at the time, while Brando was 48. “I wanted her to react humiliated,” Bertolucci adds. “I think she hated me and also Marlon because we didn’t tell her.” That said, he doesn’t “regret” his actions — this, despite Schneider’s reaction to her experience. “To obtain something I think you have to be completely free,” continues the filmmaker. “I didn’t want Maria to act her humiliation her rage, I wanted her to Maria to feel…the rage and humiliation. Then she hated me for all of her life.”

READ MORE: Martin Scorsese Analyzes Marlon Brando in 15-Minute ‘One-Eyed Jacks’ Discussion — Watch

“I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci,” Schneider said in a 2007 Daily Mail interview. The actress, who never shot another nude scene and was afflicted with depression and addiction issues throughout the rest of the 1970s, died of cancer in 2011.

Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox