Conformity Defeats Non-Conformity: the Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci

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Conformity defeats Non-conformity: The Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970) is a denunciation of the individual cowardice and moral paralysis during the ‘Black Twenty Years’. The protagonist, Marcello, spies on his former professor while working for Benito Mussolini’s political police. He accepts the assignment because he is eager to build a so-called normal life. He always keeps silent about his conformity and the deep space utilized in the scene when he walks though the huge building to meet the Minister reflects the lack of individuality in fascist era. The diegetic sound of Marcello’s steps without verbal communication illustrates that he is a copycat and always chooses to be silent so to conform and to belong. These footsteps reveal that he just follows the path of society; for example, he wants nothing more than to conform to the upper-crust expectations, join the Italian Fascist movement and marry to a middle-class woman. Actually, the people surrounding Marcello are both conformists: Manganiello states that one should just follow orders; Italo’s blindness expresses the blind faith of Fascism to a high degree. People conform to the ‘normality’ of Italy society and live in their own world as reflected by the two people who walk on two sides of the oversized building without any physical and mental connection. Especially, the marble floor creates the only loud sound of the steps in the scene and its echoing is due to the large space of the Fascist building. The use of deep space in the magnificent government hall through which Marcello wanders minimizes the size of the individual. The cold and white wall in a hollow room reveals the extent to which the Fascist regime is inhuman and points out the conformists’ paralytic apathy. Indeed, Marcello enters the building to see the minister to accept to spy on his…...

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