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THE CONFORMIST

Italy, 1970 (MIFF 1971, Programme 12)

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Self-preservation in the face of, and conformity to the dictates and ideologies of political power have made cowards of countless numbers of solid citizens.

Just such a coward is Marcello who has just joined the fascists in Mussolini's Italy of the 1930's. The fascist espionage agency dispatches him to France to assassinate a left-wing college professor under whom he once studied. He combines the assignment with his honeymoon. On arrival in France, the awesomeness of his task reinforces his cowardice: his mind is riddled with fears and doubts, and he procrastinates. He is also diverted by his attraction to the intended victim's wife.

The plot serves as a dramatic frame upon which hangs a bagful of interwoven themes, including Marcello's youthful encounter with homosexuality.

See also...

THE SPIDER'S STRATEGY

As in his 1971 Festival film, The Conformist, in The Spider's Strategy, Bertolucci again tackles a political subject, this time about the unravelling of the mystery of a political assassination. ... More »

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Bernardo Bertolucci's new films always come as shocks More than most film-makers, each new film is a reaction against his previous work. Since he got into his international stride with The Conformist ... More »

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Before the Revolution is both personal and autobiographical. Its title comes from Talleyrand's famous remark: "Only those who lived before the Revolution knew how sweet life could be." The Talleyrand ... More »

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BESIEGED

Bertolucci's latest film is designed with the pure geome­try of music in mind. In Kenya. Shadurai's (Thandie Newton) husband is arrested for opposing the military government. She moves to Rome ... More »

THE GRIM REAPER

BertoIucci's first film (1962) starts like a thriller: The body of a woman is found on a river bank near a suburban park in Rome, and the police interrogate a number of people who were seen in the ... More »

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