A work of almost breathtaking visual beauty that manages to ravish the heart while dazzling the eye simultaneously, neither at the expense of the other.
Charlie Schmidlin is a Los Angeles-based writer and Illinois native, whose film work and criticism has led him to China, France, and across the U.S. In 2012, he was named as one of Roger Ebert’s Far-Flung Correspondents, and he currently writes for The Playlist on Indiewire.com.
Shrouded behind the frostbitten windows of an idling vehicle, Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant) peers out at the snow-covered French countryside where a political assassination takes place. Driven by another member of Mussolini's Fascist government, the jittery man in the backseat has traveled through the night to reach this mission, but it is in the journey that Bernardo Bertolucci's striking 1970 drama, "The Conformist," takes shape. An adaptation of Alberto Moravia's 1951 novel, the film details the inner working of cowardice, using Marcello as a supposed idealist defined by his cage in 1930s Italy, and through his pitiful struggle against independence explores its futility at every turn.