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ITA1113 : Position paper

Italian Language and Culture
Course Code
ITA 1113

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Julia DUBE
Julia Dubé
Professor Ricci
ITA 1113
Due November 12th, 2014
Position Paper 7: Last Tango in Paris
The context of the sentence “Avance en Reculant” (go forward by going in reverse) is
when Jeanne is talking about her childhood from an adult’s perspective. She calls it melancholic.
Tom tells her to go back; in her mind, go in reverse. To go forward, she needs to go back to her
child's mind. The sentence can than serve as a theme for the rest of the film, specifically her
relationship with Paul. Her relationship with Paul is backwards; it doesn’t conform to usual social
conventions. As two strangers, meeting casually in an empty apartment, the conventional thing is
not to engage in sexual activities immediately. And yet that is what they do. Their relationship
evolves in reverse; first they have sex and are practically leaving together followed by talking
about their pasts and sharing their lives, then they leave the apartment and go on a real date, and
they last part of their relationship is Paul asking her name. Traditionally relationships form in the
reverse of that; asking someone their name is usually the first step, followed by a date, getting to
know each other, moving in, and having sex. In this sense, the phrase “avance en reculant” entails
that their relationship evolved in reverse. We can also attribute the sentence to Jeanne and Paul as
individuals. For Paul, at the beginning, he wants nothing to do with names or pasts or anything
outside the apartment. Slowly he grows to know her, but, as stated above, in the opposite manner
of a traditional relationship. By the end, he realizes that he loves her and when he finally catches
her its like meeting her for the first time. He says that he feels like everything hes lived up to
then had been leading up to her. Finally, he asks her name. But Jeanne is also going backwards.
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