1970. Italy/France/West Germany. Bernardo Bertolucci. 116 min.
Sunday, January 2, 2011, 5:00 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
1970. Italy/France/West Germany. Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Dominique Sanda. Bertolucci’s first true masterpiece is as viscerally powerful and visually shocking today as it was in 1970. The work of a director totally in charge of his medium, The Conformist uses sophisticated cinematic language to tell the story of a damaged soul whose psychosexual angst translates into political overcompensation and emotional stasis. The protagonist’s quest for “normalcy” is initially set—narratively and visually—within the architecture of Fascism. Vittorio Storaro’s precise, harsh lighting of vast interior spaces and stylized Roman apartments then opens up and acquires a more vivid color scheme as the main character encounters Paris and the possibility of freedom. Throughout, Bertolucci pays loving homage to the cinema of the 1930s by using mise-en-scène to convey symbolic meaning. In Italian; English subtitles. 116 min.