Monday, July 20, 2015


Carmelo Benne, Cinecittà, Roma, 1972

Benne considered Salomè the best of the six films he directed.  His performance as Erode is one of the real jewels of it (as opposed to the numerous paste gems employed therein.)  Veruschka appears at the beginning as Myrrhina rising from the pool encrusted with rubies and saphires, her head shaved just as Salomè’s will be. Erodiade is performed in tandem by Lydia Mancinelli (dressed in white and sporting angel wings) and Alfiero Vincenti (with elaborate turban, heavily browed and mustachioed.)  Iokanaan (dressed for a futbol match) is played by Giovanni Davoli, the father of Pasolini’s longtime boyfriend, Ninetto.  (One may recall that Carmelo Bene played Creonte in his friend’s Edipo Re.)  Donyale Luna is slender, and elegantly fierce as the seemingly divine princess of the play’s title.  Befitting the fictional character that he was, Jesus appears in several guises throughout the film, at first with the fangs of a vampire along with his crown of thorns, and later as a masochistic lunatic trying his best to nail himself to his cross and of course running out of hands with which to do it.

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