Italian Film Festival

The Conformist

Info: Bertolucci, Italy, 1970, 111 mins, DCP

Language: In Italian with English subtitles

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Cast: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clementi


  • Monday January 11, 2016 - 8:40 pm
  • Tuesday January 12, 2016 - 4:15 pm

Jean-Louis Trintignant is Marcello Clerici, Alberto Moravia’s existential anti-hero, a cipher pressed into a political assassination plot by Mussolini’s security apparatus. Traumatised by an event in his childhood, Clerici betrays everything he believes in to affect a kind of numbing appeasement with society. Stefania Sandrelli is his fiancée, “all bed and kitchen”, and Dominique Sanda is the wife of his former mentor and now target, Professor Quadri. In one memorable scene the two women tango in Paris.

Bertolucci’s film attempts a psychological explanation for fascism. But its visual surface is nothing less than dazzling. Director of photography Vittorio Storaro would go on to shoot Apocalypse Now, as well as Bertolucci’s international epics The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky, but this is the film that made his reputation. Every frame is densely layered, the images a flickering portfolio of the dominant modes in early twentieth century art. The use of colour is a wonder in itself.