Two years before he stunned the film world with 1972's Last Tango in Paris, 29-year-old Bernardo Bertolucci directed The Conformist, a deeply unsettling portrait of a Fascist secret policeman (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who represses his true urges -- social and sexual -- in a cowardly attempt to embrace the dangerous ideological fashions of Italy under Mussolini. Posing as a middle-class skirtchaser, Marcello Clerici is actually a cold-blooded assassin in the making whose soul-killing conformity extends even to murdering the man who was his mentor. Adapted from a book by Alberto Moravia -- arguably the best of Italy's post-war, neo-realist novelists -- the film was shot by the great cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and scored by Georges DeLerue. The talented international cast includes Pierre Clementi, Stefania Sandrelli and the luminous Dominique Sanda. This revival features an uncut version of the film and a sparkling new 35-millimeter print. As a political essay and an exercise in high tension, it remains a much-admired model.
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The Conformist will run for one week, Friday, October 7, through Thursday, October 13, at Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli, 900 Auraria Parkway. For information, call 303-820-3456.