The Conformist – Bernardo Bertolucci (1970)


The Conformist (Italian: Il conformista) is a 1970 political drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, whose screenplay is based on the 1951 novel The Conformist by Alberto Moravia. The film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio, Fosco Giachetti, José Quaglio, Dominique Sanda and Pierre Clémenti. The film was a co-production of Italian, French, and West German film companies. Bertolucci makes use of the 1930s art and decor associated with the Fascist era: the middle-class drawing rooms and the huge halls of the ruling elite. In Paris, Marcello Clerici finalizes his preparations in assassinating his former college professor, Luca Quadri. It frequently returns to the interior of a car driven by Manganiello as the two of them pursue the professor and his wife. Through a series of flashbacks, he is seen discussing with his blind friend Italo his plans to marry, his somewhat awkward attempts to join the Fascist secret police, and his visits to his parents: a morphine-addicted mother at the family’s decaying villa, and his unhinged father at an insane asylum. In another flashback, Marcello is seen as a boy during World War I, who finds himself in his family’s wealth. He is humiliated by his schoolmates until he is rescued by Lino, a chauffeur. Lino offers to show him a pistol and then makes sexual advances towards Marcello, which he partially responds to before grabbing the pistol and shooting wildly into the walls and into Lino, then flees from the scene of what he assumes is a murder. … Vincent Canby, film critic for The New York Times, liked Bertolucci’s screenplay and his directorial effort, and wrote, ‘Bernardo Bertolucci…has at last made a very middle-class, almost conventional movie that turns out to be one of the elegant surprises of the current New York Film Festival…It is also apparent in Bertolucci’s cinematic style, which is so rich, poetic, and baroque that it is simply incapable of meaning only what it says…The movie is perfectly cast, from Trintignant and on down, including Pierre Clementi, who appears briefly as the wicked young man who makes a play for the young Marcello. The Conformist is flawed, perhaps, but those very flaws may make it Bertolucci’s first commercially popular film, at least in Europe where there always seems to be a market for intelligent, upper middle-class decadence.’ …”
Wikipedia
VOX: Why Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist still resonates today (Video)
Interview: Bernardo Bertolucci (1971)
amazon
YouTube: The Conformist (1970) – Official Re-Release Trailer
DailyMotion: The Conformist (1970) 1:52:24

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