Maria Schneider had died of cancer. She was only 58, but what highlighted the sadness of her passing is that there’s one role that, for a lot of us, will define her forever, and in that one role she incarnated the spirit and beauty and giggly bloom of youth. Yes, she was good in a few other movies (notably The Passenger), but to me she will always be Jeanne, the baby-cheeked Parisian dumpling of Last Tango in Paris (1972), who descends into a torrid three-day tryst/dance/relationship/psychodrama with a desolate middle-aged widower played by Marlon Brando. Schneider was only 19, an unknown model-slash-actress with just a single movie role behind her, when director Bernardo Bertolucci cast her opposite the most legendary movie star in the world, who at that moment was on his way back to becoming the greatest screen actor in the world. More than just a movie, Last Tango would be a study — of sexual desire, of midlife agony, of Brando himself, of freedom and loss, of what movies could really be if they opened up, more than ever, to the actors who lived inside them. READ FULL STORYI felt a special pang of nostalgic melancholy when I learned, on Thursday, that
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