Carmelo Bene recorded a special television adaptation of Othello at RAI Studios in Turin in 1979. This version was quite different from the stage play he put on the previous year and he employed a number of ground-breaking techniques that included filming with five cameras each of which was connected to a VCR. This enabled Bene to edit the play from recorded material instead of live, as was the custom then. Bene only began editing the footage in 1980 and finished the play in 2001 when he was already quite sick. He was eager to finish this project and asked Marilena Fogliatti to help him. Renato Parascandolo, the head of Rai Educationala said Bene wrote him a short letter on March,12 2002 saying that he had finished editing Otello. The finale of Shakespeare’s Othello is the most lyrical of my theatrical achievements declared Carmelo Bene. This Otello is perfectly in tune with Bene’s other films and like them it is at once cinema in the theater and theater in the cinema. The camera doesn’t so much suggest a point of view as depict a frame; it doesn’t build a sequence but a series of appearances and disappearances in order to approach and precipitate the viewer’s gaze into the body of the vision. (Plato) Otello seems comic and melodramatic not only because Bene juxtaposes Shakespeare and Verdi, but also because it is played to the fullest by an actor who was one of the great Shakespearean actors. An actor who knew how to render the freedom of themes, dynamics and diversity of Shakespeare’s plays. Piergiorgio Giacché. Each of Carmelo Bene’s films works at constantly creating variations for all the aspects of the images, each in itself and in relationship to one another. An art of speed and intensity, the operation provokes each time a sight/sound continuum which builds a corresponding mechanism. Gilles Deleuze
Born in 1937, Carmelo Bene enrolled in the National Academy of Dramatic Art in 1957, which he left a year later. He first acted on the stage in Albert Camus’s Caligula in Rome in 1959. He began his film work in the 60s as an actor in Pasolini’s ‘dipus Rex . In 1969, he made Our Lady of the Turks , which was screened at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs and won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Several of his later films were also selected for the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs , among them Capricci (1969) and Don Giovanni (1970). In 1974, he began to immerse himself in his experimental theater work, with its blend of music and poetry. He died in Rome in 2002.
Carmelo Bene, adapté de William Shakespeare
Marinela Fogliatti, Giorgio Gianoglio
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