“Pass me the butter”: when the film “Last Tango in Paris” showed the unsimulated rape of Maria Schneider by Marlon Brando

“Pass me the butter”: when the film “Last Tango in Paris” showed the unsimulated rape of Maria Schneider by Marlon Brando
“Pass me the butter”: when the film “Last Tango in Paris” showed the unsimulated rape of Maria Schneider by Marlon Brando

This Wednesday, June 19, 2024, the film “Maria” is released, a biopic directed by Jessica Palud on the actress Maria Schneider who became famous while starring in the film “Last Tango in Paris”. The opportunity to return to the scene considered to be the most shocking in the cult scandal film.

Born from a fantasy of the Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, The last Tango in Paris, released in 1972, tells the stormy love story between Jeanne (Maria Schneider), a young woman about to get engaged, and Paul (Marlon Brando), a forty-year-old exhausted by life.

Without knowing each other, the two individuals get into the habit of meeting in a Parisian apartment to make love and then fall into a spiral of violence.

The film Maria by Jessica Palud, released this June 19 in cinemas, tells the story of Maria Schneider and in particular the rape suffered by the actress, only 19 years old, on the set of Bertolucci’s film.

“Pass me the butter”

Highly criticized upon its theatrical release, The last tango in Paris was classified as an X-rated film by many European countries, with France banning it for under-18s.

In Italy, the country where its director is born, the film was banned from broadcast. Bernardo Bertolucci, for his part, had been stripped of all his civil rights for five years and the actors sentenced to suspended sentences for pornography.

Nearly 52 years later, a particularly violent scene from the film continues to shock. The one behind the cult replica “Pass me the butter”in which Maria Schneider is brutally sodomized in a kitchen by Marlon Brando, using her butter-smeared fingers as lubricant.

He wanted “her to be humiliated”

We will have to wait until 2016 and an article in the magazine She to understand the harsh reality of this scene. In a video sequence retrieved from the depths of the internet, Bernardo Bertolucci admitted to having had the idea of ​​this rape by sodomy the very morning before the filming, while he was buttering his toast with Marlon Brando.

“The butter sequence was an idea I had with Marlon the day before filming. I wanted Maria to react, to be humiliated. I think she hated us both because we didn’t give her anything said”recognized the filmmaker in the video.

Maria Scheider explained that her tears in the scene were real. Years later, the French actress said she equated the moment to rape and that she had never forgiven the Italian director.

This trauma plunged her for seven years into the world of drugs, loss of self-love and suicide attempts. She died in 2011 at the age of 58.

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