Today, I have una sfida (a challenge) for all of you.
I have been watching Italian movies almost every night, mostly with a friend through zoom. Have you tried una videochiamata per guardare un film insieme agli amici? ‘Zoomiamoci’ (un gioco di parole..) quantomeno con lo spirito questa settimana.. let’s zoom together at least in spirit this week, this is my challenge to you! But more specifically than that..
The movie Il Conformista (1970) by Bernardo Bertolucci was a film I saw for the first time in an Italian class my last year of undergrad, and I was so absorbed by it. Based on a book by the same name written by Alberto Moravia, the story is set during the Fascist era in Italy and follows the life of Marcello Clerici, a government official in quest of a normal life. (I can’t remember if I also read the book – it’s likely. I read so much at that point in my studies I hardly even remember what exactly I did and did not read anymore..)
My absolute favorite line in the movie is when he’s confessing to a priest, and says “La normalità, voglio costruire la mia normalità – Normalcy, I want to create my normalcy.” These lines are blurred, however, between his view of ‘normalcy’ and what really is ‘conformity’ during this period of the 1930s.
I don’t want to give too much away as I would really like you to watch it and draw your own conclusions. I will tell you that the political themes and underlying message, the Art-Deco style of the 1930s, and the cinematic play with light are the things I love most about this movie. The framing of each shot – really, this is an artistic masterpiece, un capolavoro. I recently re-visited it with my Italian friend during one of our nightly rituals, as he had never seen it. I found myself pausing the movie at one point, noticing the smallest of details that I had never noticed before, and erupting into such a geeked out moment of pure joy. He didn’t even catch it… but I bet you will.
Va bene Bridgette, di cosa si tratta nello specifico questa sfida?
I want you to watch this movie and listen very closely to the Italian. If you need to watch it with English subtitles, that’s fine, but that leads me to my first suggerimento, or hint…
- This detail is not translatable. One of the reasons why watching movies in their original language is so important… there are things that are conveyed in other languages that simply cannot be conveyed the same way in English. How fun is that?!
- This detail relates to the overall theme of conformity of the movie.
- There is a political reason for the detail, of which I have talked about in previous blogs.
- This detail can be found in one very specific exchange between characters.
Ready to tackle this sfida, or even just enjoy a sensational film? Here is the link to the movie, where you are able to add subtitles if you so wish by hitting “cc.” :
When you catch it – lasciatemi un commento, leave me a comment! Don’t prematurely look at the comments though if you want to be surprised and try to figure it out yourself. I’ll reveal this little detail next week, and we’ll see who gets it!
Alla settimana prossima allora, in bocca al lupo a tutti voi!