Founder of one of Italy’s most famous experimental theatres, poet, actor, author, playwright, and leading avant-gardist, Carmelo Bene is an unknown genius of contemporary cinema. This is one of his masterpieces. Bene’s films are visual, lyrical and auditory cataclysms, whose lava-like outpourings are of unequalled hallucinatory perversity. Their visual density and creative exuberance defy description. Capricci- melodramatic, wildly expressionist, and opaque— includes a bloody, endless fight between two men brandishing hammer and sickle, poisoned Christ paintings that kill the beholder, impotent sex by a lecherous old man coughing his lungs out over a tantalizing nude woman, killiings, car crashes, explosions, and raging fires, all accompanied by operatic arias, constantly moving cameras, and violent montage. Vulgar black humour, eroticism, and anarchic action mingle in this swirl of colour and incessant motion— a tour de force of expressionist filmmaking. —Amos Vogel
Carmelo Bene is certainly the last great artist of our 20th century literary world: the publication of his complete works by Bompiani in 1995 – allowing him to proudly call himself “a living classic” – can be considered proof that even the official culture accepts this fact as a clear and and unquestionable truth.
Born at Campi Salentina (Lecce) in 1937, he made his debut in ‘59 with Caligola by Camus, directed by Alberto Ruggiero; however, the following year he offered a work entirely in the first person with Spettacolo Majakovskij, and background music by Bussotti.
In the following decade, the great talent of the actor-director had the chance to fully unfold in legendary shows: his virulent, aggressive and disrespectful – to the point of outrage – rereadings of Pinocchio by Collodi (1961), Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1961), Edward II by Marlowe (1963), Salomè by Oscar Wilde (1964), Manon by Prévost (1964), read more