Carmelo Bene

M.: Carmelo Bene, Marilena Fogliatti. Scgf.: Carmelo Bene. Mus.: Luigi Zito. Int.: Carmelo Bene, Cosimo Cinieri, Michela Martini, Rossella Bolmida, Cesare Dell’Aguzzo. DCP. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The story of Carmelo Bene’s television version of William Shakespeare’s Othello is a troubled one, involving a succession of announcements, disappearances and appearances starting in 1979 when Carmelo Bene filmed a version of his Otello o la deficienza della donna for the Italian broadcaster RAI. Filming took place at Studio 1 in Turin, which was set up with state-of-the-art tools for video experimentation and four different cameras. Carmelo Bene, who had staged the same show at the theatre a few months earlier, knew exactly what he was looking for with television, as he told Italo Moscati in “Cineforum” in 1978: “Television is a tool that lets you delve into the human landscape. What do I mean? The human landscape is created by the actors, who are not as far away as on stage but are a living reality that can be investigated meticulously. The camera becomes a kind of exploring eye that captures everything, even the smallest details, and provides the opportunity of telling stories by selecting from an enormous quantity of materials.”
After filming, Bene began editing with Marilena Fogliatti, again in Turin where, at the same time, Michelangelo Antonioni was editing The Mystery of Oberwald, a contemporary RAI production experimenting with the potential of video. Daily discussion took place between the two, according to Fogliatti, but it lasted only a few weeks since Bene stopped editing to resume  his theatre work. He came back to the footage twenty years later, when he was already ill, and called Marilena Fogliatti back to complete the job. Otello o la deficienza della donna was Carmelo Bene’s last work, and it was screened for the first time at the Teatro Argentina in Rome on 18 March 2002, just two days after his death. Thanks to the friendship between Enrico Ghezzi and Bene, Fuori Orario. Cose (mai) viste took over the tapes with the 1979 footage. Some parts were broadcast on the night of 5 April 2002, titled Infinity (H)Otello and edited by Donatello Fumarola. Since then, the tapes had remained at Fuori Orario’s archive until a move last year brought back to light 28 cassettes containing all the footage used by Bene to edit Otello o la deficienza della donna.

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