Remembering Maria-Hélène Schneider…


Judging from her 2007 Daily Mail interview, it is not my imagination the actress Maria Schneider minimizes her on-camera sexual assault in the 1972 classic film Last Tango in Paris. It is what most victims do, to cope. The film’s most well-known and oft-referenced scene, where the middle-aged widower played by Marlon Brando sodomizes his nameless teen nymph with butter, was not in the script. It was forced on the actress 30 years Brando’s junior, and in her first major role. Her tears of surprise and degradation are real, not a performance. She did not live to see the day when she would not have to apologize for her tears or minimize her truth.

The filmed sexual assault combined with prior factors, such as her father’s abandonment, and subsequent factors, like fame’s unreality, in a confluence of misfortune and instability Ms. Schneider only escaped in her final years…

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