Review: ‘Il Conformista’

Bernardo Bertolucci's latest writer-director stint, a free adaptation of Alberto Moravia's book The Conformist, is a click from start to finish.

Bernardo Bertolucci’s latest writer-director stint, a free adaptation of Alberto Moravia’s book The Conformist, is a click from start to finish.

Basically, it’s the story of a coward, one of the thousands (millions?) who have, for self-aggrandizement or mere safe-playing self-preservation, ‘conformed’ to the transient ideological dictates of their times.

Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is such a coward. Just married (also a compromise), he’s sent to Paris by the Fascist espionage organization he’s joined and ordered to murder a leftist political refugee he once studied under in college, but procrastinates, his mind riddled with doubts and fears, his body attracted by the intended victim’s pretty wife who, possibly to save her husband’s life, seduces both Marcello and his bride.

Performances are first-rate down to smallest role, with Trintignant reliable as ever in a tailor-made role, Stefania Sandrelli excellent as his wide-eyed middle-class wife, and Dominique Sanda a definite screen presence of considerable promise as the other woman.

Pic is somewhat slow here and there and could stand some trimming to tighten and heighten. Windup is likewise redundant, and the weakest factor in an otherwise very satisfying powerful film.

Il Conformista

Italy - France - W. Germany


Mars/Marianne/Maran. Director Bernardo Bertolucci; Producer Maurizio Lodi-Fe; Screenplay Bernardo Bertolucci; Camera Vittorio Storaro; Editor Franco Arcalli; Music Georges Delerve;; Art Director Ferdinando Scarfiotti


(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1970. Running time: 108 MIN.


Jean-Louis Trintignant Stefania Sandrelli Dominique Sanda Enzo Tarascio Pierre Clementi Gastone Moschin

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety