The Conformist (1970)

Cinema Classics Seminar: The Conformist

Beneath the Shadow: Life Under Authoritarianism
Thursday, October 11, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Intellectual Heritage Program, Temple University
Location: Multimedia Room
Cost: $25 for members, $30 for non-members
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The Conformist is not only one of the great films of the 1970s—and of post-World War II Italian cinema—it is also a work that had a profound influence on the directors of New Hollywood, among them Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. Bernardo Bertolucci's film may be seen as a parable of what happens when an individual, and by extension an entire populace, abdicates responsibility for its moral condition.

Loosely based on the novel by Alberto Moravia, The Conformist follows the quest for bourgeois normality by an upper-class intellectual named Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who joins the Italian Fascist Party in 1938 Rome as a result of his painful isolation from family and colleagues. Determined to prove his allegiance, Marcello gets his chance when party operatives order him to establish contact with—and eventually kill—a former professor, now an anti-fascist living in Paris.

Bertolucci draws upon the influences of Josef Von Sternberg, Max Ophüls, and Orson Welles, synthesizing expressionism, a complex narrative structure, and "fascist" film aesthetic. His cinematic style is complemented by the sublime cinematography of Vittorio Storaro, who uses rich colors, light and shadow, and camera angles and movement to emphasize Marcello's conformity and bourgeois entrapment. Thematically, it is a film in which politics, Freud, sex, and philosophy combine in a spirit of aesthetic exuberance and daring. The Conformist is not merely an indictment of fascism, but also a profound personal tragedy.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. Students meet in the 2nd floor Multimedia room for an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. The film itself is shown in one of our theaters. Your ticket for the screening, as well as popcorn and a drink, are included with your registration.

Sessions · Click to add to calendar
  • Thursday, October 11
    6:30pm 2018-10-11 18:30:00 2018-10-11 21:30:00 America/New_York Cinema Classics Seminar: The Conformist Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA