2005_08_artsConformist.jpg If you're feeling a bit unsatisfied with The Dukes of Hazzards or any other disappointing summer blockbuster, we strongly suggest heading to the Film Forum to catch Bertolucci's The Conformist. Set in 1938 Rome, the political/psychological thriller follows a disturbed young man with a scarred childhood whose obsession with "normalcy" leads him to extremes. From marrying a "petty bourgeoise" who's "all bed and kitchen" to combining his Paris honeymoon with a Fascist murder mission to kill his mentor, an exiled philosophy professor (which Bertolucci considers a metaphor for "killing" his own cinematic mentor – the legendary Jean-Luc Godard), he portrays the desperate attempt to achieve a "normal life." Tracing the rise and fall of Fascism, this beautifully directed and often humorous film boasts some gorgeous scenes as the protagonist reflects on his past – visiting his father in an insane asylum, embracing his newlywed on a train as the sun sets, and two seductive wives publicly dancing the tango (our personal favorite).

The era sets, suspenseful plot, memorable cast, eerily beautiful score, and stunning cinematography (even makes rustling leaves interesting) make this a must-see. It plays at the Film Forum through August 23rd @ 1,3,5,7:40, and 10:00PM and make sure to order tickets online or arrive at least an hour and a half before as showtimes have been selling out (we arrived 25 minutes early and sat in one of the last rows). If you've already seen The Conformist, then join the SPOILER crew for their comedic film short fest, ROSHAMBO, at Galapagos in Williamsburg @8PM, featuring standup by Gothamist-favorite Aziz Ansari and Heather Lawless.