Jessica Palud‘s Being Maria was screened last weerk (5.21) in Cannes as an out-of-competition premiere. Based on Vanessa Schneider‘s 2018 memoir “My Cousin Maria Schneider“, it allegedly pushes a contrary viewpoint about the making of Last Tango in Paris and the filming of the anal sex assault scene in particular — contrary in that it argues with statements from its late director, Bernardo Bertolucci.

World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy, who attended the Cannes screening and is not given to fanciful distortion as a rule, says that Palud’s film “pretends that the rape scene was unscripted. I went into the film not realizing it was about Schneider. What the film suggests is that Marlon Brando and Bertolucci were unsatisfied by a take and plotted to add the rape scene without Schneider knowing it [in advance].”

I wasn’t on the set of Last Tango in Paris and am only going by online accounts, but please consider a piece that I posted on 12.5.16, titled “Bernardo Bertolucci to Last Tango Outrage Crowd: ‘Cool It…You’ve Got It All Wrong’“:

Last Tango in Paris director Bernardo Bertolucci has issued a statement about the anger that ignited after an Elle article summarized comments Bertolucci made during a 2013 interview, specifically about he and Tango star Marlon Brando having surprised the late Maria Schneider with an idea to do a butter-enabled anal sex scene.

The hoo-hah is based on a “ridiculous misunderstanding” of what actually happened, Bertolucci says.

“I would like, for the last time, to clear up a ridiculous misunderstanding that continues to generate press reports about Last Tango in Paris around the world,” Bertolucci wrote.

“[Three] years ago at the Cinematheque Francaise someone asked me for details on the famous butter scene. I specified, but perhaps I was not clear, that I decided with Marlon Brando not to inform Maria that we would [use] butter. We wanted her spontaneous reaction to that improper use [of the butter]. That is where the misunderstanding lies.

“Somebody thought, and thinks, that Maria had not been informed about the violence on her. That is false!”

Bertolucci explained that “Maria knew everything because she had read the script, where it was all described. The only novelty was the idea of the butter.”

This argues somewhat with a Schneider quote given to a Daily Mail interviewer in 2007, to wit: “I felt humiliated and, to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologize. Thankfully, there was just one take.”

I wouldn’t mention this if it wasn’t a thing, but what difference could it possibly make to anyone what kind of lubricant is used in the matter of backdoor action? If Schneider knew what the scene would be about because it was in the script, why would she be alarmed about the use of butter? What’s the issue as long as something was used…right?

Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli reports that when Schneider died, Bertolucci said to ANSA: “Her death came too soon, before I could tenderly hug her again, tell her that I felt close to her like the first day, and, at least once, say I was sorry. The strong creative rapport we had during the Last Tango shoot had been poisoned with the passing of time. Maria accused me of having robbed her of her youth and only today I wonder whether there wasn’t some truth to that. In truth she was too young to sustain the impact with the unpredictable and brutal success of that film.”