Saturday, October 3, 2009

“Conformist” (focus on cinematography)

Sometimes, we blame the traitor easily. But just think about it. Is it right to dare to say “You are wrong” to the man naturally without experiencing or understanding such a situation?
”Conformist” by Bernardo Bertolucci defenses a man whose desire is to live a just normal life in the era of Fascism and the ruin of it
The important thing is that the movie appeals to audience emotionally about his situation by the camera working and shot size.

First, tracking shots are often used to follow his emotional feeling.
The first scene which he picks the phone up and wears the clothes and puts the gun in his pocket is shown as long take by tracking shot. And then, he goes the step down and opens the door of the hotel. By that time, camera dolly(track)s in toward him quickly.
Surely, he is in emergency and has to move fast. From the beginning, we cannot help starting with the concentration on his harsh movement. If first track shot is just for expressing his own emotion, the successive track shots evoke sentiment by representing the relationships between him and his family. See his mother. She lives without a certain purpose, sometimes depending on morphine. Tracking shot compares two persons by moving from the bathroom she is to the room he stands. And then see his father. The camera follows protagonist walking fast toward his father sitting in the mental hospital through the track. He has to solve the problem about his abnormal parents to marry his fiancee. These two tracking shots show his tension and audience understand his poor background. Maybe, some people may feel sympathy to it.

Second, bird’s eye view with camera fixed shows his resistance is no use. See him surrounded by many dancers including his wife and wife of the professor. He didn’t want to join them. He just
stands up there. He is just a weak man, therefore cannot but being confined by the mass.
After collapse of the Fascism, look at him surrounded by the mass marching for the rally. Only thing he can do is to avoid them carefully. In both of two shots, no moving, fixed camera of bird’s eye view functions as bystander never helping him. And that symbolizes it is meaningless for him to protest against the main current of the era.

Third, two close-up shots of protagonist reveal his agony.
See him talking to the professor, revered one in the past but must be killed by him now, During the conversation about Plato, his face is shown as close-up. He is in the middle of the fierce conflict. We also contemplate his pains, even though it is indirect, through the close-up together.
And the other close-up shot, the last shot in the movie, is so impressive. After the collapse of the Fascism, he, was a fascist, struggles to survive. At last, he accuse even his friend to the people,
Now, there is no one beside him. He sits down alone in front of the steel-barred in the street. And then he turns his head forward. He seems to be in the jail. In the long run, his hope just to live a normal life ends in tragedy. The last close-up is enough to unfold his feeling and the message of this movie.

In the conclusion, this movie takes a role of the lawyer for a man in the law court. It persuades audience by using the various effects, camera moving, angle and shot size. Those overwhelm our sensibility. And his tragic ending makes audience silent or feel pity rather than reproach his fault

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