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?