Bertolucci’s characters often inhabited split selves and thus embodied the political tensions and divisions of their times. The protagonist of ‘The Conformist’ (based on an Alberto Moravia novel) is a man tormented by the feeling that he doesn’t fit into his society’s norms. In the 1930s, the well-to-do Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant) accepts an assignment from Mussolini’s secret police to assassinate his former professor. As he prepares, the film shows his life in flashback and suggests some of the motives that could lead a person to negate history and embrace a Fascist state.
Bernardo Bertolucci The most notable films of Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci (1941-2018) include Before the ‘Revolution’ (1964), ‘The Spider’s Stratagem’ (1970), ‘Last Tango in Paris’ (1972), ‘The Last Emperor’ (1987), and ‘The Dreamers’ (2003). His approach to epic cinematic storytelling has been influential for directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and James Gray.