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Update: Critic David Edelstein Uses Bernardo Bertolucci's Death to Make a Rape Joke

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | November 27, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | November 27, 2018 |


Update: NPR’s Fresh Air has cut ties with David Edelstein.

Director Bernardo Bertolucci has died at the age of 77, and to be honest, it’s not something we’re keen to write about here because, his contributions to cinema notwithstanding, f**k that guy for the rape scene in 1972’s Last Tango in Paris. I’m not going to post the clip here, but suffice to say: In that scene, Marlon Brando plays a character who anally rapes a character played by Maria Schneider using butter as a lubricant. Only the thing is, the use of butter was not in the script, and neither Bertolucci nor Brando told Schneider that it was coming because Bertolucci wanted to generate a real “reaction of frustration and rage.”

He accomplished that, but in doing so, humiliated Maria Schneider, who admitted in a 2007 interview that she cried “real tears” during the scene and that she felt “a little raped.” If you’ve seen the scene, you’ll understand why. From The Washington Post:

Marlon said to me: ‘Maria, don’t worry, it’s just a movie,’ but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn’t real, I was crying real tears,” she said. “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.”

She added: “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.”

It was beyond f**ked-up. After the film, Schneider became a drug addict and was suicidal until later becoming a women’s rights activist. Charges were brought against Bertolucci and he received a four-month suspended prison sentence.

Anyway, this is not news, and while some outlets have chosen to write about Bertolucci’s death and others have not, most seem to at least acknowledge the rape scene and rightfully suggests that it diminishes his legacy. Most everyone that did choose to write about it, however, probably did so gingerly, weighing the man’s tarnished legacy against one’s desire to be respectful of the dead.

That is, except for NY Magazine movie critic, David Edelstein.

What the hell? WHAT THE HELL?

Edelstein has incurred a lot of criticism in recent years for, uh, writing reviews with his dick or his racially tone-deaf review of Green Book, but this is beyond the pale and rightfully should have people asking why David Edelstein is still employed by a major outlet.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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