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Last Tango in Paris director admits infamous 'butter rape' scene with Maria Schneider was non-consensual

The rape scene is one of the most infamous in film history

Roisin O'Connor
Saturday 03 December 2016 15:48 GMT
A scene from film, 'Last Tango in Paris'
A scene from film, 'Last Tango in Paris' (PEA)

A recently surfaced video shows Last Tango in Paris director Bernardo Bertolucci admitting that star Maria Schneider never consented to certain elements of the film's infamous rape scene.

Speaking in the clip from 2013, Bertolucci confesses that he and Marlon Brando conspired to shoot the assault scene where Brando's character uses a stick of butter as a lubricant to rape Schneider's character Jeanne.

At the time, Brando was 48-years-old, and Schneider was just 19.

"The sequence of the butter is an idea that I had with Marlon in the morning before shooting," Bertolucci said in an event at La Cinémathèque Française, where he was speaking about the actress two years after her death from cancer.

He said that he felt horrible "in a way" for his treatment of the actress but defended himself by saying that he wanted her reaction "as a girl".

"I wanted her to act humiliated. I think she hated me and also Marlon because we didn't tell her.

"To obtain something I think you have to be completely free. I didn't want Maria to act her humiliation, her rage, I wanted Maria to feel... the rage and humilation. Then she hated me for all of her life."

Watch the interview in full below:

After Last Tango in Paris was released, Schneider would never shoot another nude scene again.

Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2007, she said that she felt "raped" by Brando and had later embarked on a path of self-destruction involving drug addiction and suicide attempts.

"They only told me about it [the butter scene] before we had to film the scene and I was so angry," she said.

"I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can't force someone to do something that isn't in the script, but at the time, I didn't know that...

"I felt humuliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. Adter the scene, Marlon didn't console me or apologise. Thankfully, there was just one take."

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