«The sulphurous actress», «L’enfant perdue du cinéma», «The woman of Last tango»: this is how media have defined Maria Schneider, the french actress who gained international renown for her performance in Last tango in Paris, at the age of 19. The role written by Bertolucci undoubtedly marked Schneider’s image and turned this fresh girl-woman into the rebel icon of free love (Cari genitori) and the symbol of female emancipation (Io sono mia). During her meteoric passage through European stardom, Schneider scandalized also italian conservative society. My paper focuses not only on the actress’s persona, but also on the reception of Schneider’s sexual life in the Italian press, which compared the actress to Juliette Lorsange, the nymphomaniac De Sade’s character.
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