The Conformist adapted and directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, based on the novel by Alberto Moravia
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
A few weeks ago, I have been mesmerized by The Contempt written by the writer of The Conformist, Alberto Moravia.
Then I saw Le Mepris, the adaptation for the big screen with the superb Bardot and I have included The Contempt among my favorite works.
Alas, I did not have the chance to read the original this time, I just saw the film.
And it is a very good one, albeit I was tempted to say at times:
- "What's your angle here?"
I thought that the approach is post modern or surreal, perhaps both at times.
Many, if not most of the characters are monstrous, vile.
With Marcello Clerici, played by one of my favorite actors, Jean Louis Trintignant as one of the worst of all.
He was a promising student, the best in his generation as the professor Luca Quadri says, but he became The Conformist, a Nazi.
He is not even one of those complex personages who have a dark side, but at least there is some aspect that you could like about them.
The Conformist appears to be Pure Evil.
Yes, he is sensitive to the beauty of Anna Quadri, but he is married to Giulia and Anna is the wife of his former professor.
When he shows some concern for his mother, it is again with extreme violence that he deals with what he sees as a problem.
The woman has a lover who is Japanese and is called Ki.
- That means...hemlock.
The poor Ki, who looked like he did a lot of good to the older woman, who needed comforting and someone to show affection, is killed.
In order to prepare for his marriage with Giulia, Clerici is supposed to go to confession.
It is stated that even those who attend church do not believe...90% of them!
That sounds like way too much for me.
Nevertheless, the confession of The Conformist is an exercise in arrogance and it is completed...
- In Cold Blood
And it is not just Clerici that is outrageous.
He speaks the truth when he says:
You are more outraged by an eventual sodomy than by the murder...
He confessed to killing someone at thirteen, but the prelate is more interested in the homosexual act that might have been involved in the story.
Indeed, during the scenes that rendered the incident I thought that the closeness between the older man and the boy was inappropriate.
And that recalls the filming of A Tango in Paris.
Bertolucci was accused by the actress of being more than abusive on the set, especially during the sex scenes.
There are many shots that are beautiful, with impressive, minimalist architecture.
Clerici is given the mission to assassinate his former professor, Luca Quadri, who is an anti-fascist and lives in Paris with his wondrous spouse Anna.
The Conformist is taken, attracted by this outstanding beauty and the outcome is in question.
He even says that he would run away with her to Brazil.
About his wife Clerici only has this to tell:
- "Mediocre, she's all bed and kitchen"
- So what will he do?
- Will he abandon his "cause"?
- Or will he remain The Conformist?