The Conformist

Adapted from a novel by Alberto Moravia, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist set new standards for how we deal with and respond to the demands of a tyrant.  Bertolucci seems to be equating the rise and fall of Italian Fascism, from the early 1920s until 1943, with the short, dreadful, very romantic life of Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a young man for whom conformity becomes a kind of obsession after a traumatic encounter in his youth.  Bertolucci appears to be aware the fact that the equation of politics with sex is extremely complex.  He has changed Moravia’s ending in such a way that the entire film is steeped in ambiguity.

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