How can one react to the unrepentant admission by Bernardo Bertolucci that he and Marlon Brando conspired to rape Maria Schneider on the define of Last Tango in Paris?
These are not easy days to be a feminist in America. The film industry, as well as other progressives in American society, are still reeling over the election of a human who acknowledges to having sexually assaulted women, knowingly employing his celebrity to exploit them. Over the last several days a video surfaced( thank you, Elle) from a 2013 interview with the Academy-Award-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, in which he talks about how he and Marlon Brando conspired to rape actress Maria Schneider on the decide of the Last Tango in Paris, a cinema that was nominated for two Academy Award and many other accolades.
Its important to note that Schneider, who died in 2011, told the Daily Mail in an interview style back in 2007 that she felt humbled and, to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. This wasnt a little bit rape. This was rape where she was penetrated by a stick of butter. They actually took a prop and forced it inside her. In addition, the scene wasnt in the script. The 19 -year-old was blindsided by a bunch of older all those people who, according to Bertolucci, wanted her reaction as a girl , not as an actress.
This woman said she was raped almost a decade ago yet there was no response , no outcry, like there was this weekend. The common theme is that we continue to disbelieve females when we say “weve been” raped. It took over 50 girls to come forward for the world to believe that Bill Cosby was a rapist. People( even our best and most feminist actresses) still have no problem working with Roman Polanski or Woody Allen, and others whom the world knows have multiple issues with women. And, by the way, Bertolucci was one of the signers of a 2009 petition demanding that Polanski be released from Switzerland while the US was trying to extradite him.
It took Bertolucci acknowledging to facilitating rape and went on to say that he felt guilt but not regret over what he did for people to believe Schneider, who regrettably “isnt here” to realise the benefits of his confession. Neither is Brando, who according to the reports was also traumatised by what happened. If “youre reading” “whats happened to” Schneider after her rape, the suicide attempts and narcotic problems which were attributed at the time to the onslaught of renown, in hindsight we can see that this woman had PTSD( something that is common with rape survivors) because she had to cover up her own assault and it tortured her for the rest of their own lives.
The fact that Bertolucci has no regret over the scene because I guess he guessed in a warped and unacceptable way that she wouldnt be able to act like she was raped if she knew it was coming belies a complete lack of responsibility. Say I was wrong and I shouldnt have done it. Own it. You made a career as a result of this film, off the back of a woman who you are conspired to assault for your own interests. She was a 19 -year-old actress and you could and should have trusted her to do her chore on that scene, just like you trusted her to do in other scenes. Maybe you didnt tell her because she would have said no, and you didnt want to deal with that?
It would be a different story if this sad tale of Maria Schneider were an isolated incident in the film community but its not. The so-called progressive community of Hollywood hides behind its liberal values while paying men more , not hiring women in equal numbers, sexualising females, kicking girls out when they are no longer fuckable and, yes, raping them. Evan Rachel Wood and Rose McGowan are two women performers who have been vocal about their own sexual assaults.
Rape is used as a device in TV and cinemas with such regularity that we are almost immune to it. It is employed over and over again in one of the most contentious movies of this awards season, Elle. For those who havent considered it, Isabelle Huppert is raped multiple times in the film. There have been a variety of differing sentiments related to the grey area of whether she is complicit with her rape. Huppert is no Schneider in this piece. She knew exactly what she was get into and is winning commendations for the cinema; she won a Gotham Award last week.
For me there is no grey area. Rape is rape. The stats suggest that between 90 -9 8% of rape survivors tell the truth, yet rape is the only felony where the main victims is disbelieved and in turn the conviction rate is absurdly low. When any movie tries to create nuance over an issue that is an epidemic in our culture, we all need to stand up. Movies are not just movies. They are touchstones, reflections of our culture of where we are, of who we all want to be.
Read more: www.theguardian.com