Review of "Last Tango in Paris."

Essay by supra2900College, Undergraduate April 2004

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In, Last Tango in Paris, Marlon Brando's character, Paul, is shown to the audience using the films different motifs and numerous different uses of mise-en-scene.

One of the main ideas Paul brings forth throughout the film is his desire to forget the past. There is no better example of this than the conversations that occur with Jeanne in their apartment. For instance, when Jeanne is telling a story to Paul, and states a name, Paul subsequently becomes enraged at her, yelling that there are no names in that apartment. Later he states that he has been called too many names over the course of his life, and a simple grunt would be more sufficient. Every time a name is mentioned in that apartment Paul has a look of disgust and disappointment on his face. It's as though he looks at the apartment as an escape from the outside world, and wishes to have no names in there, like leading a double life.

Paul also clearly portrays the theme of forgetting the past through the motif of darkness. When Paul and Jeanne first get the apartment, Paul keeps all of the blinds shut, and lights off, another portrayal of shutting out the outside world. But, his desire to have the past released from him is more clearly shown through the use of Paul's dark, silhouette like shadow. For example, after a seemingly affable chat with Jeanne about childhood, Paul then escapes to a dark room. There, he sits on the floor with, fiddling with a lamp shade, as his face is faintly lit, and the rest of his body is covered with darkness. It's as though the conversation hit a chord with his emotions, causing him to remember a past event. That then leads to his...