Directed by Carmelo Bene. With Donyale Luna, Carmelo Bene, Veruschka
Italy 1972, 35mm, color, 74 min. Italian with English subtitles
Salomé is perhaps Bene’s most accessible work; on at least one occasion, he called it his best film. Derived from Oscar Wilde’s play, it tells the Biblical story of Herod, Salomé and John the Baptist with occasional slight detours, including a rather blasphemous “Last Supper.” The film is an eye-popping visual feast; Bene himself referred to Salomé’s art direction as “total kitsch.” The sets and costumes are covered with Day-Glo paint and festooned with feathers and elaborate jewelry, sequins and baubles, all edited into a frenzied montage, with few shots lasting more than a second or two. The cast features a gallery of grotesques to rival Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.