The Conformist

Il Conformista

dir. Bernardo Bertolucci

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Bernardo Bertolucci's gorgeously decadent adaptation of the novel by Alberto Moravia gave Jean-Louis Trintignant one of his greatest roles as a suave lawyer who tries to sublimate his repressed homosexuality by joining Mussolini's Fascists.
Based on the novel by Alberto Moravia, The Conformist offered Jean-Louis Trintignant perhaps his greatest role as the suave, clenched Marcello Clerici, who has sublimated his repressed homosexuality by joining Mussolini's Fascists. When Clerici is dispatched to Paris to assassinate his mentor, a leftist professor married to a beautiful bisexual woman (Dominique Sanda), his obsession with normality and social acceptance drives him to a coldly calculated crime. No Bertolucci film is more gorgeous — the chiaroscuro lighting, fluid camerawork and ornate visual design are justly celebrated — and the many setpieces, from the lesbian tango to the Ides of March murder in the wintry forest, are indelible. This print includes a five-minute segment which was cut from the film's original release, in which Clerici is the only sighted person at a ball for the blind — a sequence that is no doubt crucial to what Robert Phillip Kolker called the film's "dominant metaphor of blindness and sight." "One of the ten greatest films in the history of cinema" (Paul Schrader).