Monday, 30 August 2010

MY HIT LIST # 4 The Conformist

A meditation on fascism and beauty, Bernadro Bertolucci's The Conformist is revered for its sumptuous visual style and beautifully extrovert artistic cinematography. It is a combination of film noir, Freudian drama, and political commentary.

The hero, Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant), joins Italy's fascist party, is married to a bourgeois woman, and agrees to assassinate his former mentor, a university professor, in order to become a normal member of society. But Clerici’s morality is sufficiently in tact that he begins putting off the murder in true Hamlet fashion.

With a bloody outcome and nonlinear narrative, the message seems clear; as Clerici's smug, self-satisfied attitude unravels, Bertolucci wants Italians to answer for their own behavior during the past fascists regime.

Most arresting is the films visuals. It is a stunning piece of Cinema and seems to be a catalogue of images styles and techniques from cinema history.

The European art movie can be inaccessible and overly ambiguous but the Conformist can be admired for its look as well as its meaning. It's influence can be seen in films ranging from The Godfather to Blade runner. It really is an extraordinary and beautiful film.

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having said that;