Movie Reviews - Featured Films » Independent Film Guide - C

The Conformist Movie Review

sanda film bertolucci trintignant

A chill sets in every time I see the gutless “Conformist” in Bernardo Bertolucci's classic adaptation of Alberto Moravia's 1951 novel. And then, a few years go by, and I'm swept up in the film's spell all over again as if I were watching it for the first time. I suspect that the film would have been unbearable to watch if any other artist than Bertolucci had been at the helm or any actor other than Jean-Louis Trintignant had been cast in the title role. Trintignant is the thinking man's wimp; as he is swept along by events and circumstances in Fascist Italy, his face maps out all the untaken roads and unmade choices. But if there is a heart and soul to the film, it is possessed by the cool lesbian played by Dominique Sanda. The Conformist, the film that launched Bertolucci's international career, cost just 3/4 of a million dollars to make, but Sanda's mere presence makes the film look and feel far more expensive. From her seduction on a polished table to her doomed flight from assassins, Sanda is the perfect sacrificial symbol of that era, a fact not lost on Vittorio De Sica, who went on to cast her in the Oscar-winning Garden of the Finzi Continis. Although Trintignant's internal angst and his aimless domestic life with Stefania Sandrelli (whom Sanda's character tries to lure both on and off the dance floor) receive most of the screen time, it is Sanda's haunting presence that lingers in the memory. Note: A new restored print of The Conformist surfaced in 1994, including the five-minute “Dance of the Blind” sequence shorn by Paramount from the original 1971 release. AKA: II Conformist.

1971 (R) 108m/C IT FR GE Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clementi, Gastone Moschin, Pasquale Fortunato; D: Bernardo Bertolucci; W: Bernardo Bertolucci; C: Vittorio Storaro; M: Georges Delerue. National Society of Film Critics Awards ‘71: Best Cinematography (Storaro), Best Director (Bertolucci); Nominations: Academy Awards ‘71: Best Adapted Screenplay. VHS, LV

Cop Land Movie Review [next] [back] Confessions of a Window Cleaner Movie Review

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or