Conformist, The (1970)

The Conformist (1970), directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.

Marcello, a secret policeman of the Italian Fascists, is sent to Paris to assassinate his former professor. He combines the trip with his honeymoon. The story is told in flashbacks of his childhood, how he got his job and got married. The final bit jumps ahead to the fall of Mussolini in 1943 and the beginning of the end of the Fascists.

Until the last 20 minutes it's not very heavy, despite the subject matter. Lots of absurd humor, little visual jokes, and some mild sexcapades between Marcello and the professor's young wife, and between the two wives.

But the last 20 minutes are grim: blood and betrayal. Marcello seems like a well-dressed self-interested bit of excrement and we wonder if he is ever going to show a better nature. He may be tempted at one point, but it doesn't take.

Beautifully photographed. The color, lighting and composition are just gorgeous. For the thumbnails I generated a random set of frames and picked about half of them.