This experimental film by the maverick Italian director Carmelo Bene is a free adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play Salome and is even more irreverent than the original. In this film, Bene carries the New Testament story beyond the incident with Herod, and pictures Christ nailing himself to the cross, unable (of course) to finish the task.
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
Possibly, probably, or even certainly the most spectacular call for the renunciation of spectacle in the history of cinema. An ultravivid exercise in unfettered hysteria, colliding Anger's Pleasure Dome with Fellini's Satyricon in the service of a series of crucifixions: Christ's, the Tetrarch's, Wilde's, any and all versions of correspondence theory, inter alia. A jaw-dropping, eye-burning perpetual motion machine.