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Carmelo Bene at the Anthology Film Archives

“But those who see, do not see what they see…”

Carmelo Bene

Practically unknown outside his native Italy yet as essential to the grammar of cinema as a Brakhage, Carmelo Bene finally gets his first retrospective in the English-speaking world courtesy of the Anthology Film Archives (after running at the Harvard Film Archive) on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Though chiefly known for his theatrical work, this possessed avant-gardist gate-crashed the 7th Art leaving in his wake a succinct but indelible body of work: a death rattle of anti-cinema. Utterly removed from the abominable provincialism of auteur cinema and its authorial individualism, his films are acts of self-dispute, impudently staging the tragic farce of his inner (artistic) life.

Bene’s films regurgitate the disorder of life and its forms; with a contusive freedom of imagination he desecrates the codes of filmmaking while testing his own capacity to live up to his visions.

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