A strikingly meticulous production & masterclass in fimmaking from Bertolucci. There's a wonderful field of depth to the film as characters track across the screen, delve between rooms & float from the forefront to the background. Like Antonioni's films, The Conformist is filled with cryptic symbolism that's very Italian. As a film to study it's fantastic, but as an involving tale it feels too detached to enjoy.
Artful and enigmatic, with meticulous mise-en-scène, cinematography that captures a multitude of settings, disturbing and haunting characters amidst a fascist political context, and an engaging if dystopian narrative development. Bertolucci belongs in the Italian cinematic canon.
Stylish in its own right & potentially superb however rather annoyingly its promising initial arguments are not developed enough to satisfy. A juxtaposition of elements as fascism/anti-fascism, vocation/social conformity, sexual orientation/repression & morality/nihilism, all permanent themes throughout the film, should have sufficed to craft a powerful & complex narrative however it feels rather bland and tasteless.
The pairing of the sly, composed Trintignant opposite the exuberantly sexy comedienne Sandrelli is only one of the comic touches that Bertolucci uses to sharpen the impact of the tragic finish, which is not as tragic as it is in the book, by the way. Afterthought: This may be one of the perfect films like “The Third Man.”
Excellent usage of blues, oblique angles, and beautiful women. A troubling pederasty scene. Bertolucci takes revenge at Godard by associating his phone # w/ Communist philosophy professor who is brutally stabbed. The "need to belong" sexually and politically, both seen as dead ends - the lesbian leftist libertine and the fascist conventional marriage mutually frustrate. The morphine addicted mom scene is creepy.