Not one of his best known but certainly one of the fine masterpieces of the Italian movie director. A psychological thriller that explore the frivolous Fascism Ego with an unusual point of view, truly revealing about an un-expecting visual beauty proper to every decadence period. He does it through the weak-willed eyes of Marcello, portrayed by Jean-Louis Trintignant in which dwells an urgent desire of normalcy - driven by a 'not denied' repression instinct caused by a childhood trauma and a false belief- that will lead him to drown himself into the collective hallucination of Mussolini-era Fascism.
He also does it through the massive empty architectural spaces and through the exposure of the two-dimensional image that comes out by the rough man of fascism in contrast with the Parisian lymphatic life of the politic exiles like the former college professor Quadri -known for his liberal anti-fascist outlooks - which he will have to get rid of. He still does it through the two petite bourgeoisie wives - who do not question themselves about being, conformist or not, but who simply bloom of their true being, coloring in a 'flamboyant way' one of the darkest periods in history.
Photographed by the master lensman Vittorio Storaro who gives an additional contrast, through the choice of a memorable color palette made of blue- grey tones vs waxing orange, in order to underline ambiguity and the everlasting doubt of Trintignant's restless figure: an attentive fascist spy on the one hand and a blindman in his intimacy on the other. Without any doubt it will remain one of the all-time great films of the 70's.
director BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI
director of photography VITTORIO STORARO
cast JEAN-LOUIS TRINTIGNANT, STEFANIA SANDRELLI, DOMINIQUE SANDA, GASTONE MOSCHIN, PIERRE CLEMENTI
words SILVIA GAIA MARCELLI
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