The Conformist (1970) - Bertolucci *rewatch*
Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant) tries very hard to be normal in Italy in the 30s. This means he will become a perfect petit-bourgeois fascist. He marries a ditzy doll Giulia (Stefania Sandrelli) and takes up an assignment to kill his former teacher, now a political dissent living in Paris. He gets tangled up with beautiful and mysterious Anna (Dominique Sanda), the young wife of his teacher. The fact that Anna is a total opposite of Giulia is the main attraction to Marcello.
Trintinant's cold demeanor and small physique is perfect for the role of a weak willed man who wants to assimilate. On this viewing, it's delightful to find that Giulia and Anna's lesbo alliance has got to do with their bourgeois tendencies whether they are fascists or left-leaning intellectual dissenters against the rise of communism (there is a scene where 'Internationale' is sang by a couple of street flower sellers making underhanded mockery of Marcello and Anna's affair). Also, the inclusion of the party scene of the blinds in the basement was pretty cool. If anything, The Conformist is all style. But all the carefully composed shots last a lot shorter, and editing a lot clunkier than I remember. Marcello's memory of killing a pedophile chauffeur being a stand in for all those who followed war atrocities like a sheep doesn't have that much of an impact.