The 's Sheds Light On Complex Issues Such As Psychological Effects Of Fascism
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In The Conformist, Bertolucci’s sheds light on complex issues such as psychological effects of fascism and why one might conform to such a government. The film follows the complicated character of Marcello, a homosexual man with a traumatic homosexual experience in his childhood, which results in him becoming ashamed of his sexuality and begins to fear being shunned by society for it. Marcello deals with this shame by shutting down any homosexual desire he may have and becomes his idealized figure of normal; which at this time was a loyal and disciplined Fascist. Marcello learns how to conform perfectly by becoming a Fascist spy, but two significant people in Marcello’s life disrupt his path to becoming ‘normal’.
Marcello became a conformist to conceal his homosexuality. He is sexually awkward with his very attractive wife and compensates for it by bragging about his sex life with male companions, such as Italo. When Italo asks Marcello why he is marrying the simple-minded woman, he tells him “normalcy, stability, and security”. When Marcello spoke with the priest about how he’s pursuing a normal life he told the priest he is marrying a woman who is “all bed and kitchen”. He knows he is different from others and this anxiety causes him to reach the farthest ends of his idea of conformity, such as becoming a fascist and marrying a very simple woman. At the radio broadcasting station, there is a female trio dressed identically singing a cheery song in unison. This is a reflection if Marcello’s ideas on conformity because he believes conformity will ultimately lead to his happiness and societal acceptance. Unlike Anna who is open and fulfilled with her life as a dancer, she expresses who she is unapologetically and reaps the rew...
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...ing Italo a fascist as well, Italo gets swept away by the anti-fascist crowd, and Marcello is left alone with the young man. Marcello sleeps with the young man, and the shot pans to the naked young man relaxed after sex turning the crank on the record player.
This film is the story of the man who built himself up to his perfect image of a man, and how that all unravels due to the people that he encounters in his life. As Marcello marries Giulia he builds his conformist image and believes he has achieved perfect conformity. Anna, the object of his admiration, creates a crack in the image he has made for himself, particularly when she dies in front of his eyes. Lino is the man who sexually violated Marcello at a young age and comes back later in his life to completely unravel him. As the tragic Fascist movement comes to an end, so does Marcello in this beautiful film.