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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - March, 2011

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"Last Tango in Paris" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-march-2011-last-tango-in-paris

Synopsis

Paul (Marlon Brando) is an American living in Paris who's wife has recently committed suicide.  Wandering the streets of Paris in despair, he meets a young engaged woman (Maria Schneider) who is looking at renting the same apartment that he is.  They proceed to have the first of many anonymous sexual encounters, with Paul demanding that their encounters remain totally anonymous, down to not even knowing their names.  Their affair continues in the apartment until Jeanne arrives one day to find that Paul has packed up and moved out.  However she encounters Paul on the street later, discovering that he wants to start anew with a real relationship, including names and losing the background of anonymity, which is not what Jeanne has in mind for them.

Specifications

  • MGM
  • 1972, Color, Rated NC-17, 2 Hr 16 min
  • Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider
  • Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence:  Yes
  • Sex:  Extreme
  • Language:  Yes

Commentary

I saw Last Tango in Paris over a decade ago, and despite how well done I found the film, I hadn't wanted to revisit it much since then because of the rawness of the emotion expressed.  Paul is someone who has been wounded to his core, devastated by the death of his wife, and wants to keep an air of detachment around himself and his relationships to avoid that pain again.  Jeanne is in a relationship, but one that lacks the raw physicality of her relationship with Paul and leaves her unsatisfied in that aspect.  As Paul's attachment to Jeanne grows, even without knowing her name, he begins to want to reach out for that emotional connection that he had been trying to avoid, but Jeanne already has that in her life and is looking to satisfy other needs, which Paul has been fulfilling.  It's a very compelling story, but one that can be hard to watch over and over with all the emotion inside it.

Technical

Presented in it's original 1.85:1 ratio, and shot by Vittorio Storaro, Last Tango in Paris looks much better than I had expected it to look.  It seems as though the majority of shots are done with natural lighting, and for the most part they look very impressive.  Grain is readily apparent throughout the film, but it is natural and not distracting.  Detail is often very good, though some of those interior shots can look a bit softer than the exterior ones due to the lighting.  Overall, it is a very nice presentation of the film with only a few minor bits of print damage.

The audio is a 2.0 version of the original mono track, and in a mostly dialog driven movie, it comes across very clear.  Ambiance and other sounds are mostly non-existent due to the nature of the film, and overall the track does a very nice job.

Extras

The original trailer is included, and nothing else.