Independent filmmaker Carmelo Bene makes his debut in this feature that concerns the murder of the Saracens in the city of Otranto centuries ago. Our Lady appears at various time in the film, symbolic of the carnal desires and spiritual dreams of all men. Flashbacks and avant garde cinematic techniques provide passages of erotica and black humor on occasion. The story was taken from Bene’s own novel as the author oversees all aspects of writing, production and direction in this experimental and provocative film.
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
A courageous work of art that is bound to be modern and challenging for eternity. Baroque with its exquisite images, audacious with its remarks on religion and human pathology, and anarchic with its clamorous laugh in the face of spent traditions, cinematic or otherwise. My new favorite Italian film.