In one of the greatest of all art films comes Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist; a film that combines the controversial topics of politics and sexuality into one of the most fascinating and complex character studies in all of film history. The Conformist tells the story about the rise and fall of Italian Fascism between the years of 1920 until 1943; and it also makes for an interesting contrast with the main character Marcello Clerici who has an obsession with conforming to what he sees is normal and acceptable in Italian society. It is based on a book adaptation by Alberto Moravia, as the structure of the film is shot mostly through several non sequential flashbacks and memories through Marcello all while Marcello and his loyal chauffeur make their drive to commit an assassination on an exiled anti-Fascist who was once Marcello's college professor
The Conformist is not only brilliant in its mysterious and complex character study of the ordinary man, but of its fascinating Freudian themes of sexuality and politics, showing how a man will mindlessly sacrifice his own individual values just to blend it with society. He joins the Italian Fascist movement not because he necessarily believes in it, and gets engaged to a boring and dull housewife, not necessarily because he is in love with her. He just wants to fit in on what society looks at as acceptable and will live his traditional life not how he truly wants to live it but rather how others think he should. And yet The Conformist has some of the most extraordinary cinematography ever committed to celluloid; containing striking and breathtaking composition shots of the clothes, automobiles, architecture and the décor of the historical 1930's Italian era.