David Edelstein, the “butter scene” in “Last Tango” and the darkness of the internet

Article here. Excerpt:

'Edelstein has been silent on Facebook the last few days. Until this week he held two of the most prestigious paying gigs in the ever-shrinking world of film criticism, at New York magazine and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Now he has himself become the subject of widespread debate and discussion on social media, not to mention in the real world. This happened after he posted (and rapidly deleted) a tasteless joke in response to the recent death of legendary Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci. “Even grief goes better with butter,” Edelstein wrote, alongside an image from the famous, or infamous, scene in Bertolucci’s “Last Tango in Paris” in which Marlon Brando’s character uses butter as a lubricant while having anal sex with the character played by Maria Schneider.

That leads us to the next point in this byzantine tale: Whether or not the “butter scene” in “Last Tango in Paris” depicts a rape is debatable. It probably didn’t play that way for most viewers in the early 1970s — an apex moment for the “male gaze” in art-house cinema — but our standards about what constitutes sexual assault have shifted. (Edelstein made exactly this point in his follow-up apology.) But the widespread internet perception that Maria Schneider was actually raped during that scene is incorrect. She never made any such claim, nor did anyone else who was present. What Schneider said, in a 2007 interview, was that she felt “humiliated” and “a little raped” because she was not told about the sex scene until just before the shoot. ...
Hell, I really don’t know. But my takeaway is pretty simple, and I plan to live by it: There is no privacy, and the internet is a glorious garden of hate. Oh, and when you’re about to post that hilarious thing on social media? Take a breath. Read it first. Then read it again. Read it in the voice of your worst enemy. Go pour yourself some coffee and come back. Delete it and move on with your life.'

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The author is clearly cowed. Lest he come out and state the obvious, instead he offers a squishy half-hearted pseudo-defense of what? A friend who cracked a joke referencing a movie wherein butter was used as anal lube in a girl-ass-fucking scene that seemed to some to border on rape in terms of sexual scene content.

Guess what? A lot of sex scenes in movies and in real life border on rape. It's called "forced sex fantasy kink" and directors do it all the time for dramatic effect while people at home in bedrooms do it because it's hot as fuck for everyone. It gets people to go see movies. I challenge you to find a director who will gladly film a "fully explicit consensual sex scene". Imagine such a scene. The guy is constantly asking the girl if what he is doing is ok. All the time. The scene will last 15 minutes and even then she won't even have her shirt off. Yes there's a hot sex scene people will pay to see. Not.

The offense IMO is cracking a joke at someine's death. Has that even been noticed?

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Review: Art school drama forced-sex-shock-value crap par extraordinairre. His pants weren't even down. After buttering up her ass did he actually, even in the story, fuck her ass, or just pretend to to shock her into repeating his "deconstructionist anti-suburban-family beatnik prattle"?

She did a pretty bad job of pretending to be violated, too.

As forced-sex-rapey-drama-school-sex-scenes go, this gets a D, at best.

I should direct movies. Porn movies. Porn movies with men buttering up women's asses then violating them ruthlessly. Shackles, chains, blindfolds, gags. The whole 9 yards.

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