Continuing on the path to discover more beautiful works of art internationally, I have ventured upon a classic in cinema and my first Italian movie- The Conformist.
Title: Il Conformista (The Conformist)
Country of origin: Italy
Directed by: Bernardo Bettolucci
Screenplay: Bernardo Bettolucci
Based on: The Conformist by Alberto Moravia
Starring: Jean Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clémenti
Music: Georges Delerue
Released: 1 July 1970
Duration: 111 minutes
Although this has been dubbed into other languages, I decided to watch the original version itself.
We see the beginning of the film where Marcello is preparing for an assasination of his professor. Together with Manganiello they start tailing the professor and his wife for the assassination.
In another part of the movie we see Marcello’s rather broken family and his wish to join the Fascist secret police. His mother turns out to be a morphine addict while his father is mentally unwell. We see glimpses into his childhood where he was lonely, because of his family’s wealth and the incidents that made him the man he is today.
In an attempt to gain ‘normalcy’ he decides to marry Guilia. She insists that he must do a confession for them to marry despite being atheist and it is in his confession that we understand his past sins and that he bears no remorse for the same. He travels to France on the pretense of a honeymoon, but in reality it is to meet with his professor, an advocate of anti-fascism and therefore has to be assassinated.
When he meets the professor in France, he meets his young wife, Anna. Marcello and Anna become close, and they end up having an affair.
But despite all that, Marcello’s resolve to assassinate the professor remain strong. Now back from the flashbacks, we see that a group starts attacking the vehicle his professor and his wife are in. In the scuffle , both the professor and his wife, are killed with Marcello watching on.
At the end of the film, we see the end of the fascist dictatorship, and Marcello walking with his friend who was also a strong believer of Fascism. In a crude turn of events he turns his friend as a scapegoat claiming to the protesting crowd that his friend is the Fascist and not him, and that he is responsible for the assassination of the professor and his wife. The film ends with him deep in thoughts on the street.
Now although it may seem as if I told the entire story in the movie,I really haven’t. This movie is a classic and I am sure a lot of people have already seen it, so you know what I am talking about.
I am a complete novice to classics like this, so please excuse me if my opinions sound crude . I loved the movie. A considerable amount of time was spent on developing the character of Marcello and a lot of time was invested in the story where he sets out to assassinate the professor. Although we may feel a deviation of story when Anna comes through, Marcello continued with his mission. Although I never go into technicalities, one thing that I loved and have to point is ‘character positioning’ . It’s something new that I learnt , when we see a story unravel itself on screen the way the camera takes in the scene is very important. And on that note, the director has shown and produced some excellent quality shots and positioning of characters in frame that actually improve the overall unravelling of the story.
In essence this movie is about a week willed man, who takes on an active role in a political movement with glimpses to and from from his childhood and the present and the set of events that formed the man he is today.
It really was a culmination of different worlds. His childhood was definitely not anything that can be defined as normal, and that really gave the character depth. Needless to say the entire cast, did a wonderful job, and executed their roles perfectly. A lot of history and events were intertwined into the story which gave each character, more voice and in turn made it more entertaining.
In reality Marcello was never a hero, but rather an anti-hero. It’s a definite classic, and worth the watch.
If you have already seen this, let me know what you feel in the comments!
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