1970. Italy/France/Germany. Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci. With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli. 111 min.
A self-loathing fascist flunky opts to use his Parisian honeymoon as a pretext to assassinate his politically dissenting former professor – all in the name of normalcy. Bertolucci’s dense texturing and lusciously baroque style render this trenchant critique of servility in utterly cinematic terms.
1940. USA. Dir: Charles Chaplin. With Paulette Goddard. 125 min.
A Jewish war vet walks out of a hospital for the first time in 20 years to find his shop boarded up, the police replaced with brown-shirted thugs, and his homeland run by a loudmouthed buffoon ranting about making the country great again. Chaplin breaks his career-long silent to speak out against the growing menace of fascism, fusing slapstick with an earnest plea for compassion.