This topic is part of the 2012 MUBI World Cup. If you have not already done so, please read the first post at the topic for an introduction to and rules about this year’s World Cup:
The purpose of this topic is to cast votes in the matchup listed above and also to be a forum for discussing the films in the match.
Anyone who has seen both of the films listed above may vote in this match. You must vote for whichever of the two films you personally like better. In order to vote you must post a reply to this topic containing one of the following sequences:
If you are voting for Salomè: “Italy (Salomè) 1 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 0”
If you are voting for The Dream of a Ridiculous Man: “Italy (Salomè) 0 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 1”
Your vote must contain the names of both films with a “one” after the film you are voting for and a “zero” after the other film. If your vote is not formatted in this way it will not be counted.
Along with your vote you are strongly encouraged to leave additional comments regarding your reactions to the films, your reasons for why you voted the way you did, and responses to other participants’ comments. Being able to have deep discussion about the films and different aspects of them is an important part of finding enjoyment in participating in the World Cup.
This match will end on Wednesday, March 28 at 10:00 PM GMT. No votes attempted to be cast after that time will be counted. Shortly after the match ends the votes will be tallied and a winner of the match will be declared. If the films both receive the same number of votes, the match will be considered a tie.
The percentage of votes each film receives in a match will have an effect on whether or not the corresponding country will participate in the final round of the World Cup. Thus even if the film you vote for loses in this match, your vote will still be important.
The results of the matches as well as the schedule for future matches can be found here:
If you would like to participate but are unable to find sources to watch these films, please send me a personal message so that I can invite you to the private website featuring internet links to view the films.
Italy (Salomè (1972)) – (0) vs. Russia (The Dreams of A Ridiculous Man (1992)) – (1)
Strangely, completely going against a match involving an Italian surrealistic take on a New Testament subject and an animated adaptation of a Fyodor Dostoyevsky short story, I end up thinking of the lyrics from ‘Psycho Killer’ by the Talking Heads to express my issues with Salome:
‘You start a conversation you can’t even finish it.
You’re talkin’ a lot, but you’re not sayin’ anything.
When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.
Say something once, why say it again?’
In comparison, The Dreams of A Ridiculous Man was wonderful. Yes I didn’t read the short story like I planned before the match, but its fantastical and vaguely religious central scenes were utterly compelling. As with Mother Joan of Angels, Poland’s entry in a later match, films which (religious or not) which deal with concepts of humanity, specifically ideas of the existence of evil and how human beings act and think within their world, have become an area that fascinates me more and more. I am only in my early twenties but I have found that these ideas, which feel more like the ideas a person far wiser than me whose has lived more, far more central to how I view the world despite only taking my first steps within it. I suspect, not only with the films I gravitate to, but in the rest of my ordinary life, these questions will become more central to my thoughts on the world around me, probably the first steps to maturity and significantly maybe the next part of my life by the time I get to my thirties. It is a very personally thing to say in such a fun tournament, but it cannot be avoided. It may also, to my delight, lead to a view on cinema becoming far more interesting and vivid than it is now. Maybe my reviews on the site will jump up in quality and personality once these thoughts fully bleed into them.
That it is also both an animation, another obsession of mine, and an incredibly well made and beautiful piece of art as well, and I immediately fell in love with it. Within its twenty minutes, it managed to be far more concise and deeper than its longer opponent in communicating its thoughts and feelings to me as a viewer. If I wanted a film that rambled on and on, I can think of far more better works than Salome.
images of a man crucifying himself forever burnt into my mind
ok Im watching this now, ws kind of thinking I’d have are rest this match – curses Coheed!
Italy (Salome) – 0 / Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) – 1
Italy (Salomè) 0 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 1
Sorry to say that watching Salomè was one of most irritating film viewings I’ve encountered. Like 3D, the visual language of the film was headache inducing. Perhaps if the rapid succession of repeated imagery had some context that meant anything to me, it would have been worth it, but even the initially striking use of color was deadened through repetition. I gather it’s very weirdness holds appeal to those that enjoy it, but for me, it was proof positive that boredom is in no way limited to films with long takes.
Just as surreal and far more beautiful, The Dream of Ridiculous Man made participating in this match worth it. It’s my first encounter with this particular style of animation and I hope it’s not my last. They captured each mood, whether the main character’s dreary reality of the heaven/hell of his dreams. It’s themes resonated long after viewing and I look forward to reading the story.
It’s my first encounter with this particular style of animation and I hope it’s not my last.
Aleksandr Petrov is really the only one who I know of that has this specific style of bringing classical style paintings to life. You should check out the rest of his films. As far as paint-on-glass animation in general though, I would suggest the films of Georges Schwizgebel and Witold Giersz.
Italy (Salomè) 1 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 0
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man : I love Dostoevsky. He is one of my favorite authors and hence any work based on his stories generally interests me. I had not read this particular story before watching the film and I was pretty fascinated by the painterly style of animation. It was unique and after watching the film I was convinced that this was probably the best way to animate his works. But then, I read the story, and naturally I enjoyed it more. Dostoevsky’s stories often have these self demeaning protagonists who often have some existential angst. They are generally very intelligent individuals who seem to be disillusioned by the harsh realities of life. I feel expressing Dostoevsky’s protagonists in animation is quite a challenge as well as an advantage that way because a lot of times things are taking place in their minds rather than in real life which I feel can be drawn or painted better than photographed. This animation does succeed in expressing the general darkness of the mood and the nightmarish working of his brain rather well in that respect.
Salome: Another film that’s based on a literary work, this time by Oscar Wilde. I did not know about this play and I read about it later and discovered that Ken Russell has also made a film on it. It feels just the right kind of subject for him and I look forward to check that out as well. Talking about this particular film, I thought it’s a kind of mind bending surrealist work with vibrant colors and garish sets. It was a bit funny to begin with, when the old man was getting beaten on his head with a book. I was enjoying the music video style editing and the repetition of certain dialogues. It felt like an event stuck in time that keeps getting repeated. I found certain images fascinating, especially the grape eating on the bum and even the final skin peeling scene. My only rue with this film was that its a bit too lengthy and it gets too overwhelming after a while. My immediate reaction to this film wasn’t too positive but maybe due to the repetitiveness of the images, it kind of stuck in my mind and strangely I wouldn’t mind revisiting this when I want to torture myself which I do feel like doing sometimes.
In conclusion, I am happy with both the films. I rated them equally but I decided to vote for Salome for introducing me to cinema that feels like drinking repeated shots of vodka and feeling the horrible hangover next morning.
Salomè was sublime, so much poetry and beauty (I myself would’ve wanted to see her dance too O: ). Montage was also accurate all the time with Schubert’s Unfinished
As we’d say in México: Chulada de película
I loved Salome, and was really looking forward to voting for it. Then I watched The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.
This has to be my favorite match up to this point.
Italy (Salome) – 0 — Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) – 1
took the words out of my mouth
Italy (Salome) 1 — Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 0
Salome was a lot of fun for me. The garishness of it worked very well, in part considering the story which is by nature a question of excess. I don’t watch enough animated films to have a clear idea how Dream of a Ridiculous Man compares aesthetically. The images are nice and the story, of course, is very good. I’m pretty lukewarm on the experience of it, though.
Very fond of Dream, but can’t vote against this kaleidoscopic assault on the senses from a devilishly unique mind – loved it
@Riss nice recall made me laugh all over again – Neil really nailed the problem with suicide by crucifixion (oh please spare us the pun-ishment!:) :)
Mike had some great lines in that show !!!
An intriguing match. It’s great to see animation represented in this Cup.
I’m curious as to why the figure or story of Salome is so often represented in so many films and plays. I can understand it in painting of course because dancing and the image of a head on a platter is such a strong image. But the actual story as it appears in the Bible is such a small piece of text. Of course it is a very interesting story, but for such a short story there seems to be an inordinate ammount of films and plays about it. There are even films about people making films about it like “Sunset Blvd” and Tsai Ming-liang’s “Face”. In fact in Sunset Blvd it seemed that it was already a joke that the story had been filmed so many times. I guess it’s inevitable that with such a short story a lot of longer adaptations of it will be what Coheed said, just repetition of the same lines and concepts over and over to fill the time.
Now that’s not to say I didn’t like this version of the story. In fact I think the repetition here says something about the indulgence of the characters. They are not actually trying to move ahead through any narrative. They are content to continually indulge themselves over and over again.
If you are keen to go on it, it’s a psychedelic trip. I also think it points out the ultimate absurdity and emptyness of abundance. Can you not laugh at the fellow eating food out of a woman’s crotch and talking about the inferiority of others?
I do feel rather cheated after such a drawn out final scene that we never get to see what we are all waiting for, which is of course the depiction of John’s head on a platter. You can’t call an adaptation of Salome which doesn’t feature such a scene anything but a tease.
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man is an amazing story. I read it before watching the film and am very glad I did. It’s like a lot of literary adaptations which I am not sure if I would have appreciated fully on their own, but provide imagery to go along with the story I’ve already read. Kind of like drawings of important scenes that are later inserted into some famous novels, the images are baffling on their own, but ehance the story once you’ve read it.
At first I wasn’t sure about the style of the painting. It was very whispy and I felt slightly frustrated that I couldn’t get any grasp on any hard lines. I warmed up to it more and more as it went on though and am now wanting more.
Petrov is a master, and yet, this is not at exactly how I envision Dostoyevsky’s story. I wasn’t too fond of the music or the stale softness of colors, particularly in the agape dream sequence. Curiously, I found the street/train scenes far more exquisite and alive than the dream bits, so that’s where this animation missed the mark for me.
Salome is intense, to say the least, but the rhythm of it all was so visually and emotionally engaging that that I probably forgot to blink the entire time. This is not how our eyes are accustomed to seeing, so I find Bene’s work to transcend cinematic boundaries just as exceptionally as painting on glass.
Granted it’s not possible to fully comprehend a genius like Carmelo Bene without speaking the Italian language, I feel that many people who voted against Salome didn’t bother to do any reasearch on Bene’s immense influence on Italian theater and without realizing what a important intellectual figure he’s been for my country.
His controversial character, often subject of heated debates, divided since the beginning of his career both the critics and the public, considered by many a pretentious “word-twister” and by many others one of the most important and revolutionary figures of Italian theater and one of the best actors of the 20th century.
But alas, his work is still very obscure outsite Italy… so let me explain Salome’s “core”.
Salome’s idea of feeverish-ness and repetition (much like his other works “Amleto” and “Our Lady of the Turks”) comes from Bene’s hate of “conventional” theater, he reclaims the performance of “Acting” elevating it from simple demonstration to the actor becoming an absolute artist-personification of Theater in its entirety. He refuses the “script” because repeating a script is like repeating somebody’s work without any creativity, any art, developing the concept already started by Artaud.
Bene’s concept of “de-thinking” (the opposite of “thinking”) is the base of his work, it’s a stream of conciousness, which obviously influences the language: language dominates us, in Bene’s words “when we believe that we’re saying, we are said”. Because of the conventionality of language the former is seen as a cliche’ and as an implicit threat, that has to be detroyed, destructured, made its own.
Salome’ is one of the most revolutionary Films of Italian Cinema, and forever one of my favorites.
To end in Carmelo Bene’s words:
“It’s time to start to understand, to become confident with words. I don’t mean the Word, not the Verb, but with the words; instead language fucks you. It perforates you. It pierces through you but you don’t notice. You spit on Einstein, you spit on Freud, on the beyond of the principles of the pleasure; you seize and applaude the obvious, you made a dick out of this obvious, at the place of your own. But I don’t dare you: I don’t see you!”
dang, 7-8 russia
k i’ma watch these tonight
Italy (Salomè) – 0 vs Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) – 1
An hallucination of the absurd vs an hallucination of the sublime…
This isn’t Wilde’s Salome, but Salome gone wild – as in girls (and boys) gone wild. Even Ken Russell’s Salome’s Last Dance is rather tame in comparison. Yes, Bene outdoes Fellini at his most flamboyant. But is this artistic license or just artistic self-indulgence? Artaud has much to answer for, me thinks.
For dreams & nightmares, I’ll take the Russian existential over the over-heated Italian.
Italy (Salomè) – 1 vs Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) – 0
I hated Salomè, I loved The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. Provocateur vs the Artful Classicist. I vote for the Italian garish blowhard because it’s on the backs of such silly and childish rebellion that change forms, which is the life’s blood of art. But, please let’s not announce our low standards by calling Carmelo Bene a genius. Whereas Alexandr Petrov’s work is painstakingly painted and dreamy as a ball of opium, one of those films that “goes down easy”—in the end it risks nothing, something like Salon painting in its day. The story by Dostoevsky is dark, gruesome, ugly, with the stench of egoism and fear. Yes, the ridiculous man dreams, but Petrov’s film would have the viewer believe the morality of goodness wins out by default concurrent with its dive into fantasyland (a rather numbskull looking fantasyland at that). I don’t think Fyodor dreamed in pastel colors, I don’t think he saw a pastel in his life. The animation began to look like a squadron of Disneyesque fairies were going to start pirouetting beneath rainbows and Paramount logo stars. Goodness is not necessarily pretty, if it even exists. I don’t know what’s good anymore, Christ, it’s 2012. There is no good, only individual personalities feasting on hopes of what they consider options leading toward safety, stability and consensus. Hell, Let the class clown roar.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the comments here is not what we’re saying about the films, but what we’re saying about ourselves.
Thanks to everyone who comments on their votes.
wow look what I just stumbled upon in immemory of Carmelo Bene, an event that will introduce Australian audiences to an artistic genius and discuss his relevance today, ten years after his death. organised by the Italian Institute of Culture and screening right here in Melbourne on 28 April
In immemory of Carmelo Bene
italy (salomè) – 1 russia (the dream of a ridiculous man) – 0
italy, for the colors, for veruschka and for the way herod looked a bit like a young al pacino. i can’t say i’m in love with either film but both have their beauties. i tend to agree with brother deacon that this isn’t the dostoyevsky i know. were his dreams ever so silly?
aside, for anyone looking for more salomè: nazimova’s notorious 1923 version is also on youtube. <3
tiebreaker, it’s now 10-9 italy
well, what a brilliant match! i loved both of these! Salome is more my kind of film, although i did find Ridiculous Man lovely
@Nanaai Rupblssvm. Thanks for the insights on Bene! That was useful for contextualizing the film.
One of my favorite parts is Herodious’s reaction to being told Jesus can raise people from the dead. Naturally he likes turning water into wine because we see everyone there is indulging in wine. And how could someone be upset with someone healing diseases? But I think quite rightly he is terrified of someone who can raise the dead. Of course if you believe Jesus is God and is perfectly discriminating in who should be raised from the dead, then it is a thing to be praised. But if someone had the power to indiscriminately raise the dead that would be quite a horrifying prospect.
Yeah! I’m my opinion that’s what discussing films and art is really all about.