Transforming Revolution

My attitude towards 1968 — and especially the imbecility and pathetic commemoration which surrounds it — is all but nostalgic and benevolent. I certainly took part in the events of 1968, but was more of a supporting actor than a protagonist. Despite Carmelo Bene’s views on 1968 and the film he made, it is clear that 1968 in some way transformed a whole series of contents into forms of film and communication.
 
I myself had to find a way of making Lou Castel into a positive hero, a working class man who in some way opposed the middle class bourgeoisie. Carmelo Bene captured those rebel years in a quintessence of cinematographic originality. In this sense, his approach was more artistic while mine was always riddled by conflicting commitments, responsibilities and remorse and the fact that I belonged to a class which would eventually be quashed by the proletariat. Carmelo Bene rose to the challenge of 1968 with the freedom of a great artist. …
 
When a revolution is in progress, the artist’s job is not to illustrate or advertise it, but rather to express it in the most original manner and to transform the contents of the movement into art. In this sense, Our Lady of the Turks is a manifesto of the events of 1968. Perhaps not of 1968 as it was. But certainly of a 1968 full of contents, proclamations, and logics which only an artist could propagandize. Carmelo Bene was obviously a giant. … He struck me as a person with so little technique that he was free. And he was so capricious and original in the editing of his films. … In all the films by Carmelo Bene I have seen, there is a great sense of freedom. A freedom which becomes an expression, an image. Yet he never uses dissociated images. Carmelo Bene has a great talent for synthesis…
 
— Marco Bellocchio
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Transforming Revolution