Bernardo Bertolucci

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo (1951) di Alberto Moravia. Scen.: Bernardo Bertolucci. F.: Vittorio Storaro. M.: Franco Arcalli. Scgf.: Ferdinando Scarfiotti. Mus.: Georges Delerue. Int.: Jean-Louis Trintignant (Marcello Clerici), Stefania Sandrelli (Giulia), Dominique Sanda (Anna Quadri), Gastone Moschin (Manganiello), Pierre Clémenti (Lino Seminara), Enzo Tarascio (professor Quadri), José Quaglio (Italo Montanari), Milly (madre di Marcello), Yvonne Sanson (madre di Giulia), Giuseppe Addobbati (padre di Marcello). Prod.: Maurizio Lodi-Fè per Mars/Marianne/Maran. DCP. D.: 114’. Col.


T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Strategia del ragno and Il conformista share the theme of betrayal, a past that returns and the weight of the father figure, with the differencethat in Il conformista the son, Trintignant, betrays Professor Quadri (the father figure), while in Strategia del ragno Athos the father is thetraitor. Both, however, deal with parricide based on a past and a memory. In Il conformista the memory is of French and American films fromthe 30s, while Strategia del ragno was fed by real childhood memories…
I shot Il conformista leaving it open to the possibility of telling it chronologically, like the novel by Moravia. Right from the start I was fascinated by the possibility of using the car journey as the film’s present, a kind of vessel for the story. In other words, the main charactertravels in his memory as well. For this reason I shot a lot of material for Trintignant’s trip. With a great editor like Kim [Arcalli], bit by bit you can see the structure of the film materialise as it is created. A film’s structure is only outlined by the screenplay. It begins to exist and manifest itself during filming. But it is during the editing phase that it takes shape definitively.

Bernardo Bertolucci, in Enzo Ungari, Scene madri di Bernardo Bertolucci, Ubulibri, Milan 1982

 This is not the place to meticulously analyse how and to what extent young Bertolucci– between a freedom bordering on healthy insolence and trimming that was necessary – changed the figures and facts filling the 400 pages of Moravia’s novel and reduced it to less than two hours. Suffice it to say that the eighty pages of the prologue… are turned into a short sequence, interspersed with hallucinatory, distortedvisual effects, one of the dominant stylistic features of the film…
Sex and fascism are the two extremes of Il conformista. Or, if one prefers, the pulp and the skin. Conformist Marcello thirsts for normality to cover his unspoken, feared sexual abnormality. He becomes a fascist because he sees in fascism a collective myth to which he can sacrifice his own disorder, what makes him different from the others, in a mirage of order. He kills for fascism under the illusion of redeeming a previous crime with a criminal but legalised action. It is evident that Marcello is a fascist merely by chance, in reality he is a conformist: hisconformism is fascist, but it could be something else in different historical circumstances. It would be easy to reduce the film Il conformista to being a film ‘about’ the fascist, as a costume, neglecting its powerful criticism of a class and of a generation.

Morando Morandini, Il conformista, in In viaggio con Bernardo. Il cinema di Bernardo Bertolucci, edited by Roberto Campari and Maurizio Schiaretti, Marsilio, Venice 1994

Copy From

Restored in 4K by Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Minerva Pictures under the aegis of Fondazione Bernardo Bertolucci at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, from the original camera negative. With funding provided by Ministero della cultura and “A Season of Classic Films”, initiative promoted by ACE – Association des Cinémathèques Européennes for the Creative MEDIA programme of the European Commission