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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Il conformista' or ''Le Conformiste' or 'Der Große Irrtum' or 'The Conformist')

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Italy / France / West Germany 1970

At the peak of his creative powers the 29 year old Bernardo Bertolucci, eschewed the influence of mentor, Jean-Luc Godard and partnered up with Vittorio Storaro and developed his own style for one of the most visually dazzling, politically and psychologically intriguing and possibly greatest of all Italian films.

Told in a non linear structure that would go on to influence The Godfather Part II (not the only influence on Coppola's film), the story begins in Rome, 1938. Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is a young fascist who takes on the job of assassinating his former professor who has fled to Paris. With his girlfriend (Stefania Sandrelli) in tow he meets the professor and his young wife (Dominique Sanda). A thriller as well as study of Italian politics and psychological character, Bertolucci's Oscar nominated adaptation of Alberto Moravia s novel (an adaptation Moravia greatly admired) has gone on to influence filmmakers such as Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann and remains one of the great triumphs of world cinema.

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One of Bertolucci's best films, THE CONFORMIST makes a provocative connection between repressed sexual desires and fascist politics. It's an intriguing, elegantly photographed study of the twisted Italian character of the 1930s.

***

Like The Spider's Stratagem, a subtle anatomy of Italy's fascist past, but here the playful Borgesian time-travelling is replaced by a more personal drive which heralds the Oedipal preoccupations that haunt Bertolucci's later work. Stripping Moravia's novel of all its psychological annotations except one - as a child, the hero suffered trauma at the hands of a homosexual - Bertolucci presents him simultaneously as a suitably murky protagonist for a film noir about political assassination, and as a conformist so anxious to live a normal life that he willingly becomes an anonymous tool of the state. Juggling past and present with the same bravura flourish as Welles in Citizen Kane, Bertolucci conjures a dazzling historical and personal perspective (the marbled insane asylum where his father is incarcerated; the classical vistas of Mussolini's corridors of power; the dance hall where two women tease in an ambiguous tango; the forest road where the assassination runs horribly counter to expectation), demonstrating how the search for normality ends in the inevitable discovery that there is no such thing.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE.

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 1970 - Berlin International Film Festival

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Comparison:

Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Cover

Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1, 4 - NTSC Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:51:12 1:52:51.389
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,733,501,228 bytes

Feature: 34,645,364,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUBs: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)  LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, Spanish, Portuguese, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• Original theatrical version
• "The Rise of The Conformist: The Story, The Cast" featurette (13:29)
• "Shadow and Light: Filming The Conformist" featurette (14:29)
• "The Conformist: Breaking New Ground" featurette (11:04)

DVD Release Date: December 5th, 2006

Double Lock Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,733,501,228 bytes

Feature: 34,645,364,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Commentary with David Forgacs
• "Bernardo Bertolucci: Reflections on Cinema" featurette (51:32 in 1080i)

• DVD of the Feature (commentary included)

• A comprehensive booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by critic Michael Atkinson a re-printed interview with Bernardo Bertolucci from 1971 and Bertolucci’s thoughts on filmmaking, illustrated with original stills.

Blu-ray Release Date: February 27th, 2012
Custom
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12
 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' Blu-ray - February 12': As the screen captures attest the new 1080P transfer is brighter, thicker, richer and has more grain than the 2006 Paramount DVD. Arrow have given The Conformist a dual-layered rendering with a high bitrate. The BD has, after disc production credits, the same running time - as mentioned below in the DVD review. Black levels may have been marginally heightened on the SD - and it has more noise. Essentially, the HD is far more film-like showcasing significantly more textures. The increased brightness brings out many more details in the frame.

Audio offers the Italian track and the English commentary in linear PCM 2.0 channel at 1536 kbps. Georges Delerue's original music sounds clean and tight and there is some depth. Arrow includes optional English subtitles with a different translation than the Paramount DVD. The Blu-ray is region 'B'-locked.

The Dual-Format Blu-ray includes an informative commentary with David Forgacs (author and Professor of Italian studies) covering many themes of Bertolucci's film. There is also a 50-minute featurette entitles "Bernardo Bertolucci: Reflections on Cinema" in 1080i sharing many interviews with the director throughout the years. It is quite good. The package also contains a DVD of the Feature (with commentary included but not featurette) and a comprehensive booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by critic Michael Atkinson a re-printed interview with Bernardo Bertolucci from 1971 and Bertolucci’s thoughts on filmmaking, illustrated with original stills.

Great release from Arrow - a masterwork by Bertolucci looking and sounding more film-like than every before for Home Theater viewing. Certainly a must-own for those capable of playing region 'B' Blu-ray. Recommended!

***

ON THE DVD: Well, DVD deal of the year award is obvious - Paramount are offering this Bertolucci masterpiece with three featurettes (with the director and DP Vittorio Storaro) in a strong 1.66 progressive transfer for just over $10 US ?!? I do have one query though - the running time is 1:51:12 - the original US (director cut) was approx. 1:55:00 and the 1995 restoration was 2 hours. We will investigate the time discrepancy and report back here. NOTE: Bill tells us:
"Gary, when I saw The Conformist last year at the Cinematheque it ran 111 minutes  (same as this DVD) including the restored scene of the blind wedding." (Thanks Bill!)

For the time being we assume it is the shortness of the exit music which usually runs beyond the Paramount logo.

This release is fabulous. Region coded for 1 + 4 (set to sell in South America as well) - there are subs and dubs in Portuguese and Spanish. The bold yellow subtitle font is a bit garish, but the transfer image is excellent - soft palette colors, crisp detail and very clean. Top marks to Paramount on the appearance.

Supplements include three featurettes - that look to have been filmed at the same time - with interviews from Bertolucci and Storaro interspersed with clips of the film. They are relatively short at less than 15 minutes each but I found them enjoyable and informative. For some nothing less than a commentary is a disappointment, but again we come back to the price - a steal and a must-own for every serious cinophile's DVD library. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


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1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

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Screen Captures

 

1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Cover

Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1, 4 - NTSC Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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