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The Conformist (1970)

27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Fosco Giachetti
  • Directors: Bernardo Bertolucci
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0042L083C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,208 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Nov. 2011
Format: DVD
Bernardo Bertolucci's 1970 depiction of Italian fascism in The Conformist is both beautiful to look at and, at the same time, a brutally cold portrayal of the evil at the heart of such a regime. Bertolucci's direction, coupled with Vittorio Storaro's masterly photography, makes this film, for me, one of the most visually stylish ever made.

Jean-Louis Trintignant plays the central character Marcello Clerici, who, following childhood experiences involving sexual molestation and murder, finds himself drawn into the relative security and conformity of the fascist party. Bertolucci explores themes of sexual and religious repression as Marcello marries the beautiful Giulia (played by the stunning Stefania Sandrelli), and is forced to attend confession in order to secure the permission of Giulia's parents for the marriage. Marcello's lack of parental harmony is illustrated via his visits to his drug-addled mother at her villa and his father who has been committed to an insane asylum. The main narrative of the film involves Marcello being tasked by the party to murder his old friend and teacher, Professor Quadri, who is an outspoken anti-fascist. In his dealings with Quadri, Marcello falls in love with his wife Anna (played by Dominique Sanda), a pursuit which ends in tragedy as Quadri is assassinated by Marcello's fascist cohorts.

There are many visually stunning set pieces throughout the film, notably those of Marcello's initial seduction of Giulia (amidst the remarkable chiaroscuro produced by sunlit blinds) and Marcello's visits to the bleak and austere buildings of the fascist party and his father's asylum.

The film also concludes with two magnificent sequences.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By olofpalme63 on 26 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
So desperate is Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant who also starred as a hit-man in "The Outside Man") to lead a normal life after he suffers through the psychological trauma of a sexual confrontation with the family chauffeur (played by the bizarre Pierre Clementi) when he was a child. As an adult he eventually succumbs to the political upheavals of Hitler's Nazi machine during the 1930's and conforms to Prime Minister Mussolini's fascist regime of Italy. Working as an agent for the government he's assigned a mission to assassinate a college professor in Paris France whom Mussolini believes to be a threat to the fascist party. The murder is to take place while he's honeymooning with his newly wedded wife played to perfection by the lovely and charming Stefania Sandrelli (who starred in the contoversial film "Desideria" and Bertolucci's "Partner"), who also manages to steal every scene she's in.

While ploting the assassination in Paris he encounters a problem by falling in love with the professor's wife (Dominque Sanda, who also starred in Bertolucci's "1900"). Matters are further complicated not only by his attraction to the professor's wife, but his marriage as well as his (manufactured) loyalty to the fascist regime. The eventual ending indicates what the title is and what he's always been throughout his life. Lavishly shot by the brilliant Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now & Last Tango In Paris), this is considered Bernardo (The Spider's Stratagem & The Last Emporer) Bertolucci's "breakthrough" film and perhaps his greatest acheivement in cinema as he was also nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay. This mesmerizing look at the social values of World War II Italy is not to be missed and remains one of the all-time great films of the 70's.

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mr. L. Price on 8 Dec. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Bertolucci's 'The Conformist' is a masterpiece. It occupies my top 2 movies (alongside 'Andrei Rublev' by Tarkovsky), and I'm sure will remain there forever. It's hard to explain in words what makes this film so great; the cinematography is unbelievable, the way the film simultaneously thrills you, and gets across so many ideas in it's modest running time. The characters, from Trintignant's seductive, yet hateful lead, to the two gorgeous leading ladies, down to 'Milano Calibro 9's Gastone Moschin as the lizard-like assassin, even Pierre Clementi as the child molesting Chauffeur, makes more of an impact in one scene, than most of today's lead actors do in their entire careers. It's a real shame that paramount can't bring themselves to release this film in the UK on DVD, because this film should be shown to everybody on earth, repeatedly...
Another fascinating thing (not mentioned in other reviews here), is the presence of many actors and crew who can be found on many Italian exploitation efforts of the early 70s, most notably Aldo Lado, who is the first AD on this, but also is one of the best directors of the Giallo genre ('Short Night Of The Glass Dolls', 'Who Saw her Die?' etc etc), a front runner with Argento and Martino.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By MICHAEL ACUNA on 29 May 2007
Format: DVD
Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant) wants to be "normal," lead a normal life with a petite bourgeoisie wife: "She's all bed and kitchen" (Stephania Sandrelli) and all the accoutrements that that life brings with it: home, children, and a good job. But this is 1938 Italy and the ultimate in normalcy is being a fascist and so Marcello gets a job in a Fascist investigation bureau. His job is to find and assassinate any and all anti-fascists. At the age of 34, Marcello can see the light at the end of the tunnel that will take his life to what he considers normal: a mantra that he repeats over and over throughout director Bernardo Bertolucci's very fine film.

Marcello has spent his life in hiding from both his past as well as his present. He is wound up tightly, quiet, solemn, serious and seemingly not aware of the life that swirls around him. But whereas some people consciously hide yet are always aware of what surrounds them, Marcello walks around with blinkers on: blinkers that obfuscate almost every thing except his fantasy yellow brick road to Normal. What's particularly tragic about Marcello is that he doesn't understand that the concept of normalcy is a slippery slope, veritably indefinable and wholly unreachable.

There are only a handful of movies which feature a scene so unusual, so beautiful or perverse that it lingers in the mind of anyone who witnesses it. "The Conformist" contains such a scene: the iconic tango, dripping with over-the-top, blatant homosexual heat as performed by Stephania Sandrelli and Dominique Sanda in a Paris nightclub while the other dancers clear the floor, drop their jaws and marvel at the sensuality of it all. More importantly, Marcello stares at his wife, eyes filled with jealousy.
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