Sunday 25 July 2010
The Conformist (Il Conformista) 
Bernardo Bertolucci stretched the limits of social and moral conventions, and literally played with fire, in movies like The Last Tango in Paris and The Dreamers. On the contrary, in The Conformist, the movie that won him international acclaim and that probably remains his most famous movie till date, his provocateur nature was far more subtle – the provocations were more through the story’s ideation and the characters’ gestures, than through explicit images. Marcello, who willingly conforms to the implicit demands of the society around him, agrees to the orders of the Nazi high command in Italy to undertake a mission in Paris to assassinate his former mentor who is now a political dissident. The relationships that he shares with, and the tantalizing tango that he participates in with his mentor, his mentor’s beautiful wife, his blind friend (cum sympathizer of fascism), and his young and naïve wife, do not just make for complex character study, but also in many ways a powerful commentary on the rise of the horrific movement in Italy and other European countries post World War I. The film boasts of staggering cinematography what with its exquisite camera work, expressionistic photography, rich colour compositions and a heavy usage of stylizations. That, along with the lilting background score reinforces the inherent sense of melancholy and ambiguity that pervades every frame of the movie.
Director: Bernardo Bartolucci
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Political Drama