Pierre Clementi

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Far Flungers

The man who decided to go along

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.