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November 1994, Week 3


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Gloria Monti <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 21 Nov 1994 11:58:36 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> As a fan of Jean-Louis Trintignant, largely as a result of my enthusiasm for
> "My Night at Maud's,"
        And what about his piece de resistance: *Un Homme et une Femme/A
Man and a Woman* (1966), Lelouch.  The film won the Palme d'Or at
Cannes--that was before the French gave awards to Tarantino.  I also
recommend Trintignant's latest film: *Rouge/Red* (1994?), Kieslowski.
 I just rented and viewed for the first time "The
> Conformist" (1970; Bernardo Bertolucci)
        A dubbed copy, I bet.  *The Conformist* was recently rereleased
in 35 mm, a restored print.  I don't know if it made it past New York,
        I recommend an excellent article by Millicent Marcus:
"Bertolucci's *The Conformist: A Morals Charge" in her *ITalian Film in
the Light of Neorealism* (1986).  Also, Philip Kolker's book on
Bertolucci [*Bernardo Bertolucci*] (1985).  It analyzes the film in great
details and you would find many answers to your questions there.
in which he plays an Italian whose
> cowardice and lack of commitment are gradually revealed in what I take to be
> the basic point of the plot.  I was impressed by the style of the film, as
> anyone would be, but perplexed by the plot and characterization, which
> perhaps is not an unusual state to be left in after viewing one of
> Bertolucci's films.
        *The Conformist* is particularly intricate in terms of plot.  I
recommend more than one viewing.  On top of that, the film assumes
knowledge of the historical background of the fil and builds the
story/plot on that knowledge.  Typical of many Italian films but maybe a
touch difficult for an audience who is not well acquainted with Italian
politics.  And I am *not* assuming that you are not.
        For example, the scene in the recording studio when Marcello goes
to visit his friend Italo to let him know that he got engaged to Giulia
has that song "Chi e' piu Felice di Me" sung by the three women.  That
was an actual reference to a song very popular in the Thirties in Italy.
And the man who mimicks the sound of the bird, in the same scene was
heard every day on the Italian radio well into the Seventies.
        Who cares?  Well, the film does.  How is such information going
to affect the reading of the film?  Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.
        Same thing as the Godard intertext.  Kolker explains it very
effectively.   Bertolucci spoke in Florence in 1989 at a retrospective of
all his films and he said that *The Conformist* marks the beginning of a
cinema of harmony--aways from the masochism of his early Godard
influenced days which culminated with *Partner* in 1968, the film that he
claims made him suffer the most.
        OK, I am gonna stop here before I turn this posting into a
 Is the Dominique Sanda character in fact supposed to have
been the > prostitute he once kissed but did not make love to?
        Yes, she plays two characters.
  Are we to
assume that > she is not particularly committd to her husband (the
professor) but just > taking advantage of the good life in Paris?
        Definitely not!  She and her husband have an open relationship--
a mutual understanding of the kind of life style they want to lead.  I
think this is an interesting commentary on the kind of life style
dictated by Fascism in Italy at the time.  Remember, they are
anti-Fascists in exile in Paris.
        Gloria Monti