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“Last Tango in Paris” - {Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: MGM
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
February 15, 2011
Special Features:

Trailer Rated: R

Review:

Bernardo Bertolucci remains an acquired taste as a filmmaker. He’s made a number of controversial films over the years but, perhaps, the best known remains “Last Tango in Paris” because of its nudity and raw sense of sexuality. At the time the film was released most people focused on the sexuality of it and the fact that one of America’s finest actors Marlon Brando had elected to appear in the film. What remains fresh about the film is the powerful, open, raw emotional nature of the film. Brando’s character comes across as the walking wounded decades before that term came into use. ***

Brando plays an American tormented by his wife’s suicide trying to lose himself in Paris. A chance encounter with a woman the late (Maria Schneider) in an abandoned flat leads to a torrid love affair which is as much about coping with his emotional loss, the feelings of guilt over his wife’s suicide and the raw release of sex. Paul (Brando) (the genre names of the characters only adds to the anonymity of their sexual encounters) is twice Jeanne's (Schneider) age and uses the anonymity of their sexual encounters to bury his wife’s suicide which in and of itself is almost like an intimate act directed whether intentional or not back at those who cared for her. ---

Image & Sound:

“Tango” has never been what I would consider to be a beautiful or particularly nice looking film. Like many films of the era, there’s a graininess associated with the film due to the film stocks that were popular and being used at the time. The grain though adds texture to the film and gives the often somewhat spare backgrounds a sense of additional depth and feel. Image quality varies quite a bit with an inherent softness that is due to the way the film was shot. ***

“Tango” will never be what would be considered a demo quality Blu-ray by any stretch of the imagination. The transfer here reflects how the film truly looks for the most part which for most folks is a good thing (for those who want to see a film that looks like digital video you’ll just have to deal with it—it’s not how the film looks and, to be honest, presenting that way would do a disservice to the intent of the director). ***

Audio is presented in its original mono and sounds quite nice with dialogue, clear, front and center. ---

Special Features:

Sadly, there isn’t anything beyond a trailer. A featurette on the impact of the film and its place critically today in the history of film would have been welcome. A commentary track explaining WHY Brando chose this film and how his career had stalled would have been helpful to give viewers a context for the film.

Final Words:

“Last Tango in Paris” dances on to Blu-ray with a solid looking presentation that represents what the film looks like. It’s not what I would call a demo quality Blu-ray but it does look quite nice. Audio sounds good my only complaint is that the film arrives like the previously available DVD with only the theatrical trailer as an extra.

 

 
 
 
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