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2012 MUBI World Cup Voting, Match #10: Italy (Salomè) vs. Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man)

Italy (Salomè) 0 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 1

It felt as though my inner predilections for the over-the-top were being pitted against those for the subdued and sublime with this match. A good pairing.

Salomè – This makes me think of what Jack Smith would have done if he had gotten actual funding – trashy, glittery, overstimulated… While the film certainly owes a lot to Fellini’s ‘Satyricon’, it takes the numb, charged-up excesses much, much further. But I realize it isn’t merely bacchanalia for bacchanalia’s sake, however, as it additionally forces its staging through a ‘theatre of cruelty’ blender. Bene combines the feeling of a wild happening with a very worked-over assemblage. It’s hard to imagine the artistic context in which this came about, the editing and rampant form-destruction being as it is. I actually didn’t find the imagery terribly strong. Not being from such a deeply religious society, it’s hard to respond to the cathartic blasphemy, which, like Bunuel’s, comes off as tediously one-note. Like some of the other voters, I found it wearying and a tad vapid, but, being the first film by Carmelo Bene I have seen, it piqued my interest in anticipation of the retrospective of his works that is going on in my city this weekend.

The Dream of a Ridiculous man – More timeless than the other film (which felt overpoweringly ‘of its time’), this animation I found very affecting. I like Brotherdeacon’s comparison of the film to “a ball of opium” – it was bleak and dark in the most exquisite ways. While I could marvel at Petrov’s visual style and no doubt painstaking process, that would be too much like examining a painting, and we’re talking film. (Nonetheless I’m quite impressed considering when it was made). The sculpted textures really gelled with the tone, pacing and soundscaping going on in the film. The layers of illusion onscreen come across like impasto of paint. Petrov’s gauzy transitions between different landscapes are clever and artful, giving a sense of transparency to an otherwise opaque medium. Overall I found it succinct, stylized, with forms and expressions rendered more articulately than any cell animation I’ve seen.

Rohit

about 2 years ago

Very happy with the participation in this match.

ps3.

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salome) 1 — Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man)

I knew this would be a good opportunity for me to return to the cup, if only for the titles, and both films turned out enjoyable enough. Salome is disorientating, an obvious stylistic comparison being Moreau’s painting, and by refusing to stay in one place you’re never quite sure where you are, the bogus props and eye burning colours as prominent as any plot, Bene referred to it himself as “total kitsch”. The most ironic twist being that John the Baptist got away with being beaten with a book and Herod got ultimately punished.

Petrov’s film is oil painting on glass, technically very impressive. but I don’t understand where he went in his dream, after he fell and he descended several levels and he woke up on a beach that bore more in resemblance to a holiday resort than any paradise, Brother Deacon hit upon this point, it\s been too long for me to remember how Dostoevsky described it but I don’t remember it looking like that.

Rissela​da

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

but I don’t fully understand where he went in his dream

This is indicative of why I feel it doesn’t entirely stand on it’s own, and it’s best to have read the story first.

The Africa Film Project

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salomè) 1 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 0

@ Riss…

This is indicative of why I feel it doesn’t entirely stand on it’s own, and it’s best to have read the story first.

…. maybe this is why this film didn’t really do much for me. I am virtually illeterate, and Dostoevsky is an author I have never read a word of. Having no prior understanding of this short story and his overall style and themes made Petrov’s short seem rather pointless. Some nice animation on display, but then again I have seen similar things in adverts on television. It seems most praise for Dream of a Ridiculous Man is coming from those with a profound love and knowledge of Dostoevsky’s work. It kinda makes me want to run down to my local libarary and start reading some classics, but then again I think I would have more fun in the pub.

Love Salome. Going to watch a lot more Bene on the heels of this one. I was reminded of a lot of British experimental cinema such as Jarman, Arden, Brook and Dwoskin. Maybe the pure theatrical element is more obvious in British cinema than in other European countries. The colours, the grape munching, and fanny slapping loved it….. That skin peeling scene happened to me once on a holiday in Corfu when I forgot to put some sun tan lotion on… Not that I like to comapre myself to Jesus or anything….

ps3.

about 2 years ago

This is indicative of why I feel it doesn’t entirely stand on it’s own, and it’s best to have read the story first.

Thank you Risselada, I have found it online. I’m just chiseling away it now. Petrov’s animation is actually not much different in it’s description than in the story, compared to, say, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I was grateful to see both films anyway.

Monsieur Zom

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salomè) 0 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 1

My quick two cents : This match didn’t turn out like I expected it to, I have very little knowledge of both the character and story of Salome and of Dostoyevsky (I also read a lot less than I watch films), but I expected the insane, gorgeous and blasphemous Salome to win me over. While it was one hell of an experience it also made me feel dizzy and quite uncomfortable at times, so I can’t say I enjoyed all of it. The Dream of a Ridiculous Man was just incredible, it managed to fill me with horror and disgust toward mankind, but also hope and peacefulness. So emotions win over exhilarating, but overwhelming and head-ache inducing. :P

Rissela​da

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

Not that I like to comapre myself to Jesus or anything….

It wasn’t Jesus skin who was getting pealed off. It was Harod. I’m sorry I called him Harodias earlier. That was the name of his wife (Salome’s mother)

The Africa Film Project

about 2 years ago

Ha ha I was too busy enjoying the visuals to be concerned with something as trivial as the storyline ;) Salome I’m sure is not everyone’s cup of tea and instead of giving me a headache it made me want to take loads of LSD and dress up like a dandy and barge into my nearest brothel…. Fun times :)

toodead

about 2 years ago

seems most praise for Dream of a Ridiculous Man is coming from those with a profound love and knowledge of Dostoevsky’s work

really? i got the other impression. from the man that dreamt up stavrogin, dream of a ridiculous man came across as neutered fedya. but then i haven’t read any dostoevsky in a while. maybe i’m just remembering him as not wispy. even sokurov’s whispering pages caught him better, and that was pretty dreamy….

That was the name of his wife (Salome’s mother) – i always found her much more interesting than her little prancing coquette

(on the wall by the side of my bed)

Jerry Johnson

about 2 years ago

If Kenneth Anger were 1) a pussy 2) an Italian 3) an atheist 4) a bad filmmaker, he might have made Salome. Fortunately, he was none of the above and made the Risings instead.

The Africa Film Project

about 2 years ago

If Jerry Johnson had 1) pretty blue eyes 2) a strange English accent 3) a fondenss for Pina Coladas 4) a decent taste in films he could have been me. Fortunately he has none of the above and became a program director and journalist ;)

I am sure there is a film me and Jerry both love we just haven’t found it yet :P

Rissela​da

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

I am sure there is a film me and Jerry both love we just haven’t found it yet :P

I found one!

Everyone Else

Angel

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salomè) 0 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 1

tomas.roges

about 2 years ago

Everyone Else is actually really good.

javier quinter​o

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salomè) 1 Vs. Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 0

I must apologize with all of you ´cause I haven’t had the time to write an introduction for Salomè. I’m in the middle of some projects and part time jobs simultaneously right now. In the next days I hope to write something on this surprising film.
What a pictoric match we had here!!!

Jorge Didaco

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salomè) 0 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 1

răpciun​e

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salome) 1 — Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man)0

Diariom​astorna

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salome) 1 — Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man)0

jos

about 2 years ago

Italy (Salomè) 0 – Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) 1

Rissela​da

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

VOTING IS CLOSED

Final tally:
Italy (Salomè) – 17
Russia (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man) – 14

The winner is:

ITALY!

Brothers of Italy,
Italy has woken,
Bound Scipio’s helmet
Upon her head.
Where is Victory?
Let her bow down,2
For God created her
Slave of Rome.