Made in 1972, Brando plays an expatriate by the name of Paul living in Paris who meets a young model in an empty flat in Passy. She has noticed him on the street looking torn and worn from the recent suicide of his wife. Little does she know that these coincidences are the start of something more romantic. But Paul has one rule. No names. Because names and life history only complicate things. Sounds funky but think about how sweet it is when you first meet somebody and how you feel potential there but as soon as the mystery disappears, your romantic feelings go to. Like when a pretty girl takes a shit in front of you. In the 70’s this art house movie sparked controversy for its NC-17 content but the sex scenes aren’t provacative at all (its not like he used Parkay). They are probably as we’d expect any fantasy Parisian romance to be- lustful, passionate, whirly.
Without giving two much of the beautiful drama of it all away, this movie says a lot to me about what it means to suffer for love and how devistating it can be when that love comes to an end. Brando does his best work in these roles, reminscent of On The Waterfront, where he plays tortured souls struggling for love against some antagonist or another.
And what does this movie say to me about love? What does it have to add to the conversation? Two things: 1. Love is dangerous because we expose our entire beings to it. And 2. Since there’s no other way to love, prepare to ache, because love hurts. No matter what you ever think about love, remember first and foremost that love fucking hurts.
Paul does his best to create a place where pain free love can exist. It might translate on screen into some kinky sex filled fling, but I get it. The only thing that matters is the freaky deaky love that these two strangers created in their shared apartment. Amazingly, its when there aren’t any secrets left that the love begins to suffer. Its so in life as well- its the people who know you the best that hurt you the most. And usually they are the ones that love you the most.