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The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)

Feasts for my Eyes

The Conformist

A really interesting film, this one, a really stylish movie, beautiful to look at and with a look and tone that reminds me very much of Once Upon A Time in America (and it could be that Leone deliberately echoed Bertolucci).

Jean-Louis Trintignant’s Marcello is recruited into the pre-war Italian Fascist secret service – or rather, he volunteers, with some help from a blind friend and party activist, Lino. Much of the film takes place in Paris, as Marcello accepts a gun and a mission to spy on his college professor, Quadri, and his daughter Anna (Dominique Sanda), left wing refugees from Mussolini’s thugs.

There are a number of flashbacks, as we see Marcello marry a lively (if rather simple) Giulia (Stefania Sandrelli) in a seeming attempt to achieve some kind of normality, as he reveals in the required Catholic confession prior to his wedding; we also see some of…

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