The Conformist (Dual Format Edition) [DVD + Blu-ray] 
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At the peak of his creative powers the 29 year old Bernardo Bertolucci, eschewed the influence of mentor, Jean-Luc Godard and partnered up with Vittorio Storaro and developed his own style for one of the most visually dazzling, politically and psychologically intriguing and possibly greatest of all Italian films.
Told in a non linear structure that would go on to influence The Godfather Part II (not the only influence on Coppola s film), the story begins in Rome, 1938. Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is a young fascist who takes on the job of assassinating his former professor who has fled to Paris. With his girlfriend (Stefania Sandrelli) in tow he meets the professor and his young wife (Dominique Sanda). A thriller as well as study of Italian politics and psychological character, Bertolucci s Oscar nominated adaptation of Alberto Moravia s novel (an adaptation Moravia greatly admired) has gone on to influence filmmakers such as Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann and remains one of the great triumphs of world cinema.
Arrow Academy is proud to present Bernardo Bertolucci s masterpiece on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time in the UK.
Best label 2011
"It's often the smaller-funded labels that do the best work. Arrow has released marvellous discs of many of cinema's classics, such as Bicycle Thieves, Rififi and Les Diaboliques, but it's for their horror releases that they truly excel. The more respectable directors like George A Romero and Dario Argento get their due here, but Arrow also pull out all the stops for such (unfairly) lesser regarded Gore-teurs as Lucio Fulci and Frank Henenlotter. Blu-rays of Fulci classics The Beyond and City Of The Living Dead show that the films are far more atmospheric and better made than they ever appeared before, and for Henenlotter (with the imminent Frankenhooker disc) you get extensive extras that cover the rarely examined scene of low-budget New York film-makers and the lost grindhouses of Times Square and 42nd Street."--The Guardian
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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.
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.
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.Read more ›
It uses a fractured narrative, so it may take a couple of viewings to fully appreciate, but it should be clear enough from a single viewing that it is a masterpiece. In pre-war Italy the protaginist seeks the favour of the growing fascist party and agrees to assasinate a former lecturer who has fled to Paris. But the significance of the story spreads out beyond this to encompass the seductive power of fascism. The film is one of the most beautiful films ever made, you could line you walls with the images. However it also embraces the brutality of its story, making the consquences of actions clear. The exuberance of the music and images is finally replaced by one of the bitterest twists in cinema.
The film is provided in dvd and blu-ray format, with a short leaflet of relevant material. The slip case allows you to choose which original poster to show, and the rather tricksy interactive menu includes an audio commentary.
This film made a huge impact on me in the eighties, and watching it again it resonates days after. It was also the precursor to countless films, such as Once Upon a Time in America and the Godfather 2, where a sweeping score and a fractured timeline address major themes through an individual.
Although rated at 15, it definitely includes adult themes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It’s what worries me these days. Those given a classical education. Civil servants of isolated minds are the easiest to manipulate. For hurting others. Read morePublished 10 months ago by ...
I understand that several reviewers really love this film but I thought it was terrible. Story was ok but too thin to be stretched out over 2 hours and I didn't care about any of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Citizenandrew
One of the major pros of this film is the performances by the two leading actresses, Stefania Sandrelli and Dominique Sanda, who give genuinely moving performances and are a joy to... Read morePublished 19 months ago by PlainSimpleTom
One of the finest Visuals ever put on a Film and the dance scene will live long in the memory.Published on 16 May 2014 by mmoore
There's not much I can add to this masterpiece, easily one of the most beautifully shot films of all time. Read morePublished on 11 Feb. 2014 by Bennie