Francis Bacon and The Last Tango in Paris.


Inspi­ra­tion often comes from the most unex­pected sources. I am read­ing Moviemak­ers’ Mas­ter Class: Pri­vate Lessons from the World’s Fore­most Direc­tors, and found the con­ver­sa­tion with Bernardo Bertolucci, and his inspi­ra­tion for the “Last Tango in Paris” fascinating. 

When I decided to make the movie, I took Vit­to­rio Storaro to see a Fran­cis Bacon exhi­bi­tion. I showed him the paint­ings, explain­ing that this was the kind of thing I wanted to use as my inspi­ra­tion. The orange hues in the film are directly influ­enced by Bacon.

Por­trait of Lucian Freud — Fran­cis Bacon

Study for Por­trait of Isabel Raw­sthorne — Fran­cis Bacon

I then took Mar­lon Brando to see the same exhi­bi­tion, and I showed him the paint­ings that you see at the start of the film, “Por­trait of Lucian Freud”, and “Study for Por­trait of Isabel Raw­sthorne”. I said to Mar­lon, “you see that paint­ing? Well, I want you to re-create that same intense pain. That was vir­tu­ally the only direc­tion I gave him on the film.”

Where do you find your inspiration?