Films To Remember: The Conformist

Posted by Fabio 30 September 2013

The Conformist is a 1970 political drama directed by acclaimed film-maker, Bernardo Bertolucci. The screenplay was written by Bertolucci based on the 1951 novel The Conformist by Alberto Moravia. The film features Jean-Louis Trintignant and Stefania Sandrelli, among others.

The film is a case study in the psychology of fascism: Marcello Clerici is a bureaucrat dehumanised by a dysfunctional upper class family and a childhood sexual trauma. He accepts an assignment from Benito Mussolini’s secret police to assassinate his former mentor, living in exile in Paris. In Trintignant’s characterization, Clerici is willing to sacrifice his values in the interests of building a so-called “normal life.”

According to the political philosopher Takis Fotopoulos The Conformist is a beautiful portrait of this psychological need to conform and be ‘normal’ at the social level, in general, and the political level, in particular.