Thoughts on Bertolucci’s ‘The Conformist’

 

One rainy night in Paris in 1970, Bernardo Bertolucci was standing outside the Drugstore Saint Germain. It was a quarter to midnight. He was waiting for his -mentor, the great New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, to arrive from the French premiere of the Italian's new film, The Conformist. "I haven't talked about this for dozens of years," says Bertolucci, "but Godard was my real guru, you understand? I used to think there was cinema before Godard and cinema after - like before and after Christ. So what he thought about the film meant a great deal to me."

The Conformist was an adaption of Alberto Moravia's novel, about a 30-year-old Italian Marcello Clerici (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant), a repressed -upper-class intellectual who, during Mussolini's rule, is hired by fascists to go to Paris and murder a dissident who was h is former philosophy teacher. It's not just a politically engaged film, but also a stylish thriller complete with car chases, murders and sex that Bertolucci thought the Frenchman would like. At midnight, Godard arrived for the rendezvous.

(Source: The Guardian UK)


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