Sunday, May 3, 2009
Last night I watched Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist, 1970,
based on the acclaimed novel by Alberto Moravia, and was completely
blown away by his photographic genius and brilliant performances
throughout. The main star is the handsome Jean-Louis Trintignant,
(remember him from A Man and a Woman? You know...dabadabada-
dabadabada.) who plays an Italian Fascist, traveling from Rome to
Paris, in 1938, with an assignment to assassinate his former professor.
This is a very complex film, woven with surreal flashback scenes, as
Trintignant, in the character of Marcello Clerici, struggles to find
himself, as well as complete the mission. It's an intelligent film full of
glamour, intrigue, sex and betrayal. The low lighting, oblique angels
and ominous soundtrack are icing on the cake.
One interesting bit of trivia is the Latin phrase recited by Clerici on
his way to kill Professor Quadris "Animula, vagula, blandula, hospes
comesque corporis", is the first line of a poem attributed to the
Roman emperor Hadrian. It translates loosely as "Little soul
wandering and charming thing. Where now will you dwell, guest and
companion of my body?"
There are several languages offered in which to view this film. I
recommend Italian, with the English subtitles. But, only if you need
them, like I did, of course.