“Everyone wants to be difference… but you want to be the same as everyone else”
A weak-willed man, crippled by dark secrets from childhood, is seduced by Fascism. Volunteering as an assassin for Mussolini’s secret police, he’s dispatched to Paris to kill his old professor, now a political dissident. .
In a tale full of treachery, cowardice and sexual decadence – The Conformist makes a provocative connection between repressed sexual desires and fascist politics. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Marcello Clerici, a man scarred by a childhood experience, who is obsessed with the idea of regaining a “normal” life by trying to fit into the Italian Fascist State. Weak willed, opportunistic and devoid of any moral centre, Clerici serves as a symbol of the corruption of Italian society.
Director Bernardo Bertolucci, still only 29 at the time, named Max Ophüls, Josef von Sternberg and Orson Welles as his idols and the staging of The Conformist is comparable to theirs in it’s sense of operatic self-confidence. In fact, The Conformist seems on occasion to be more a visual poem than a movie and, in spite of some of the dark themes of the film, it still manages to remain uplifting for its sheer breathtaking style. Besides all else, The Conformist is an absolute explosion of cool! The Conformist is acclaimed like few other films for its sumptuous visuals and extravagant, artful cinematography, ravishing compositions, production design, camera gymnastics and atmospheric resonance . Exquisitely photographed by Vittorio Storaro, the sum total is a blend of the sensual haziness of ’70s European art-house fare and the high-contrast, anxious angles of film noir.