I Found It At the Movies: 1970–The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci)


Inspired by Dave Hicks’ excellent blog, I have decided to write about my favorite film for each year from 1926-2008.

1970: The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci)

I can’t say that I fully understand the plot of this movie. Nor can I say that I really care. If someone forced me to choose the most beautiful color film in the history of the medium, this would be my choice.

It seems that this movie, more than any other, influenced the look of The Godfather. And the way that Bertolucci and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro film murder–slowly, carefully and with rapt attention–certainly recalls Coppola’s approach just a few years later.

The Conformist is a complete moviemaking marvel and one of cinema’s most staggering, hallucinatory achievements.

What moviemakers can learn: Moviemaking is, without argument, a collaborative medium. Finding your key collaborators, the ones who complement your talents and mesh with your sensibilities, is the most important thing you can do as a moviemaker. Just look at the magic that Bertolucci is able to create here with his long-time collaborator Storaro.  

Other contenders for 1970: There are a good number of titles from this year that I still need to see. These are: Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, Jerzy Skolimowski’s Deep End, Gilbert Cates’ I Never Sang for My Father, Vittorio De Sica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,  Luis Buñuel’s Tristana and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Spider’s Stratagem. From this year, I really like Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H and Eric Rohmer’s Claire’s Knee.  I love Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le cercle rouge.  And my closest runner-up is Sam Peckinpah’s The Ballad of Cable Hogue.  

After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors. Goodman is now at work raising money for his next feature, Peril.

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