The Conformist and fascist desire


This morning, I took rare advantage of my Netflix account and watched The Conformist (Italian: Il Conformista), a film by acclaimead director Bernardo Bertolucci. The movie, based on the novel of the same title by Alberto Moravia, follows the young Marcello Clerici’s attempt to lodge himself within the bureaucracy of Mussolini’s fascist Italy by carrying out an assassination on his former mentor, the political dissident and exile Professor Quadri. Along the way, Marcello confronts his childhood sexual trauma and parental alienation, and is forced to navigate his relationship with his petit-bourgeois wife Giullia and his attraction to the professor’s wife Anna. Honeymooning in Paris as an excuse to seek out his mark, Marcello’s commitment to the task waivers as he lusts for Anna and debates with Quadri.


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