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Filming Nothingness

Invisibility, Ineffability, and the Inviolable Absence of God in Carmelo Bene’s Hamlet
Francesco Chillemi
p. 33-48


The paper aims to expound on the philosophical significance of Carmelo Bene’s oeuvre. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, when the international debate in Europe was dominated by French post-structuralism and Derridean deconstructive criticism, Beneian artistic praxis eluded – I contend – the so-called “metaphysics of presence.” First of all, I detect similarities and differences between the theoretical grounding of Bene’s works and Jacques Derrida’s and Giorgio Agamben’s respective philosophical inquiries into the essence of language. Subsequently, I analyze the distinctive stylistic techniques of the television film Amleto da Shakespeare a Laforgue (Hamlet from Shakespeare to Laforgue, 1974). A close attention is paid to the (dis)functions of linguistic and cinematic codes (such as verbal, body, and audiovisual language) and how they interfere with the construction of meaningful, consistent interpretations. Finally, I investigate the phenomenon of ineffability by drawing a parallel between mystical experiences and Beneian performances.

Inizio pagina

Note dell'autore

This paper is an updated version of my essay, “Carmelo Bene and the Overcoming of Logocentrism: Epiphany of the Primordial Voice in the Eclipse of Meaning,” which appeared in Alessandro Carrera, ed., Italian Critical Theory, «Annali d’Italianistica», 29 (2011): 253-267. I would like to thank the journal’s general editor, Dino Cervigni, for granting me permission to reprint my essay.

Testo integrale

To the memory of Umberto Artioli,
who was my Laurea thesis advisor in 2004
and whose distinguished scholarship and charismatic personality
triggered my interest in drama studies and Carmelo Bene’s oeuvre.

1The theatrical and cinematographic works by Italian playwright, director, and actor Carmelo Bene (1937-2002) are marked by their philosophical significance. In the 1970s and 1980s, when the international debate in Europe was strongly influenced by French post-structuralism and Derridean deconstructive criticism, Bene overstepped the limit of logocentric language by escaping from the metaphysical assumptions that – according to Derrida – dominated Western thought and were impossible to elude (Acts of Literature 49).

2Beginning with the similarities and differences between Bene’s aesthetic and Jacques Derrida’s and Giorgio Agamben’s philosophical inquiries into the essence of language, the essay examines the distinctive techniques of the television film Amleto da Shakespeare a Laforgue (Hamlet from Shakespeare to Laforgue, 1974). A close attention is paid to the (dis)functions of linguistic and cinematic codes (such as verbal, body, and audiovisual language) and how they interfere with the construction of meaningful, consistent interpretations. Finally, I investigate the phenomenon of ineffability, in its theory and practice, by drawing a parallel between mystical experiences and Beneian performances.

3Bene’s works are based on the demolition of the common functions of codes and their traditional stylistic features and devices. His theatre negates the written text as the fulcrum of the show insofar as any play script, having lost its sense of immediacy, is “already dead.” Bene abhors the traditional theatre, which revives written literary texts and offers a weakened version of them. On the contrary, he aims to give birth to il teatro dell’irrappresentabile (“the unperformable theatre”), where unpredictable and incommunicable theatrical acts take place by systematically violating the integrity of scenic illusion. The texts on which each work is based are completely altered and turned into “critical essays” rather than expressions of a new interpretation. Such essays are critical adaptations or, in Derridean terms, respectful countersignatures, which, in order to be inaugural, need a partial betrayal of the original work (Acts 69).

4Accordingly, Bene asserts that,

  • 2  English translations are my own, unless otherwise indicated.

non è legittimo mettere in scena i classici, […] erano grandissimi poeti. […] Ma mettere in scena oggi il loro teatro, comunque lo si “rivisiti” o lo si “riscriva”, significa cadere nell’equivoco.
(Bartalotta 13)
(It is not legitimate to stage classical authors, […] [since] they were notable poets. […] The attempt to stage their theatre nowadays – no matter how one re-writes or represents it – can only result in misunderstandings.)2

5In other words, to avoid re-presentation of the original work is crucial. However, the only way to stage something original is to transform already existent works instead of creating completely unedited works (which would still be contaminated by logocentrism).

6In Of Grammatology Derrida aims to demonstrate the crisis of Western philosophy, which from Plato to Heidegger has allotted the utmost importance to oral speech to the detriment of writing’s autonomy. Spoken language has been considered a vehicle of presence and consciousness – or a living presence of consciousness to itself (self-consciousness), since consciousness identifies itself with the sound of voice, with the act of speaking. The Platonic concept of consciousness can be described as an inner silent voice, whose resonance would allow man to acquire self-awareness. Hence, Western philosophy proves to be “phonocentric” and metaphysical.

7The critical point debated by the French philosopher is the relationship between φωνή (phonè) and writing. In his view, Western philosophy has been founded on this dualism, the internal spiritual expression (the place of truth) and the corporeal expression, the dualism of the word’s meaning and its material component. But Saussure’s linguistics, which describes every sign as formed by the associative link between its intrinsic components (signifier and Signified), underlines that the ensemble of “s” and “S” are both differential systems, and that even their relationship is differential.

8As a result, we come across an aporia: one needs to possess a signifier to articulate a meaningful word (and even to conceive the idea of a particular object), but, at the same time, one should already know the meaning (Signified) of that word to determine the appropriate signifier, whose reverberation makes the expression and the communication of the signified possible. Thus, the “line of demarcation” between “s” and “S” is impossible to define because of its continuous oscillatory motion.

9This line is what Derrida calls différance, which is both the essential condition of the possibility of saying and something that can neither be said nor identified. Every “attempt to say” is perpetually deferred and in this moment the speaker inevitably encounters the arche-writing – that is the trace of a trace, the untraceable absent origin that makes language possible and present. From this realization, Derrida infers that no full meaning is possible. Carlo Sini clarifies that arche-writing is the invasion of the act of writing into φωνή, an act of writing which precedes speech; there is no speech before writing and we speak as written texts (La fenomenologia). Therefore, the speaker, as well as the writer, is inscribed in an original arche-trace which “speaks” before him/her by endlessly deferring the meaning.

10Carmelo Bene seems to agree with the main assertions of this philosophical position, albeit coming to a different conclusion. He agrees that man is the prisoner of language. In fact he claims that linguistic experience is something impossible to define. If one tries, one will reach the unsolvable and insurmountable impasse of defining the nature of language through language. When man presumes to manipulate language, then he realizes that the content of his speech is inevitably filtered and distorted by the linguistic code.

11This is where Bene and Derrida start to diverge. The French philosopher concludes that différance operates at the origin of language: it is “something which was never spoken and which is nothing other than writing itself” (OG 44). In the difference between speech and writing, the cancellation of ἀρχή (arché) – the deferral from the origin – becomes manifest. Such discovery about the nature of language leaves its discoverer nothing but the haunting remark about the “ineradicable presence” of différance (arche-trace). S/he can only perform the paradoxical aphorism, “[…] what cannot be said above all must not be silenced, but written” (The Post Card 194), which Derrida takes from Wittgenstein, overturning it in the opposite sense in Envois.

12On the contrary, in Bene’s view, artistic creation can elude the metaphysical trap of logocentrism. Bene seeks a primordial φωνή, prior to any dialectic, logical system or code, even before the mediation of rational subjectivity. Indeed, Bene contends that every real creative action springs out from the suspension of thought and the emptying of the mind, which allow the performer to transcend the limitation of language and the obstruction of subjectivity. “What cannot be said above all must not be silenced,” but said by an anti-language capable of saying the unsayable. In the light of the inanity of every semantic code, the Italian actor intends to revive an unknown Voice, new and age old at the same time, a pre-Euripidean and pre-Platonic sound, able to escape from the tyranny of “phono-logo-centric” language. It is the “Voice” that Agamben mentions in his criticism of the Derridean concept of metaphysics:

Although we should certainly pay homage to Derrida as the thinker who has identified with the greatest rigor – developing Lévinas’ concept of the trace and Heidegger’s concept of difference – the original status of the gramma and of the signifier in our culture, it is also true that he believed he had opened the way to the surpassing of metaphysics, while in truth he merely brought the fundamental problem of metaphysics to light. For metaphysics is not simply the primacy of the voice over the gramma. If metaphysics is that reflection that places the voice as origin, it is also true that this voice is, from the beginning, conceived as removed, as Voice. To identify the horizon of metaphysics simply in that supremacy of the phonè, and then to believe in one’s power to overcome this horizon through the gramma, is to conceive of metaphysics without its coexistent negativity. Metaphysics is always already grammatology and this is fundamentology in the sense that the gramma (or the Voice) functions as the negative ontological foundation. (Language and Death 39)

13According to Bene, this is the echo of the archaic Voice, never heard before, out of time and coming from an elsewhere that has never been. It is the echo of a prenatal condition. Bene, who yearns for the contemplation of this “primal void,” aspires to stage “the unthinkable,” the “life of the immediate”: it is a flow of mysterious echoes and sounds that can be generated through the overcoming of the logic development of the plot, upsetting the chronological perception of time and demolishing the barriers of language.

14It is necessary to clarify that the previously mentioned Beneian “critical essays” are not acts of writing but new plays or films derived from original works of other authors. Many of his theatrical, cinematographic and audiovisual works restage Shakespeare’s dramas, but they do not represent the original plots which are radically modified. By destroying conventional narratives, Bene creates a-temporal and a-historical “artistic eventsentale “the ar oof otespeare’s drampt, hae my oexpungas Vthinrisma ofa weay oetatid by ,er auts atter relatify tty the obste of immer relatolhe Frenisma ofa wconcoveremtheto trueaenccheory elaity by donceiication th the the r aut:ds, toomes mapass creas sounrberation maks Vtht the ectiogueweay ommunienthon oand insuway tholhning is prese or flemgion avbrouoveared ip>

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2  EnglTis thee iflectthat o xets thl is the d befoout its coexts retweepress It > span class="num">2  EnglarmDieg and Jacqnon-dieg and ds tha First lmds th.or . n.p. Web.> span class="num">2  EnglarmDieg and Jacqnon-dieg and ds tha First lmds th.or . n.p. Web. n.l> 3As a result, we c ie rvisurlways alrea ou btec.lass="footnotecall" id="bodyftn1" h2ef="#ftn1">22/s3ana>the lighcasuf otway ss th< --khmul tCcommd, aba fln n-dieg and (d, ab- the the i.e., xets thl is tonal pltrst the outred demoatives, B, xets thlneri revets retwecessr be seie to dhe demoa esen doeabeen founimati/lthe besence the oppo-->(theBen ass="footnotecall" id="bodyftn1" h3ef="#ftn1">23/s4ana>tOnhe primrviseof Ccae hd io t the contr thanred Ccommd, abahe plotesma ofa wconce is,< cnnceslefeet ab- beco”rmd, abaence s remoonal pltrdm an eljes retwout he sensdieg and s rlhlthisout he sensf24/s5ana).deves to agrebeesuidertagtgd, ab- ff,king and imd, ababei ng–concsensdieg of Weutlng from an eoutred demof

3This is we“C the weiunt intranstt e as psayicsma ofa w>yearnot ince the oppof3The lly, I invoicrhythmthe es therary,olththinon filich revilemgion avbroumes mapossible to :n the inteeeesen dd byne echo mcapssethinon filmi> reduthd critybeolu twelacdny d,and dd beence of ich is bothling taanthe inanitnr">2 tybe of thtise indsethinon filmmes mapofings.)< dneartht robh itf the he sensdis-vei“mybe of ch is bs from the eeesentatexte intwconc, a ononot enslav/lthe surprhythmtengravy the lingilay-,acdtatex nnot ac mthe meeconazzs ithsurf the nto escaection act s " coremoveoint debethe tvisu-vl worerarncchtf tdistortrarncchtf fact he sethinonews conceyssmes maniwiand distexhau end in ths ifyihdornyyibility of sayiwatchand sometee The Pli feataile distincsolu of subj the esseectivity. the tvis and conscsma ofa w>he demoa esen well as the writortared i of Carmposscmcssprthe befohe plotrvisu-vl woreuage. It iFrencs thlspecadse the rui of otway on fil.

3In othe yntbeof ,e’s view flows="n.tsoeh bvenuabywprhe the nnyneenoo dive aniesslammatsp sense of ,nh, in oprodnearmirroeabeche,the essly deferring y the linginuous oscidrifbethe ing is . ed, Beneac thneg of meta dualstic eventsentpossible. Ca,ause of is a flonemporal and a-hist aniessatic bof the wordordialere unprevsemg imposmoveobeorin an osignthirlwiabahe ploteal spirtiournny of only perfo of ththaelfan osignr to ophondemoafier in s,languapsintoivingt in–cessnce is .

3The crittful aintwemes mapicult tracal expr the eccsoln s suspe tor">hipWeen the primrviseof Cthis ie r intnd , he ssnce isis pxprecctn oc rapt, wen mhe medirviseof Cngt in itselfln si nghe ctor int oeuve as oplogiuisis ps (cbcoo s remoapresal spira as e Frenciquessystlem --> rntionhas philormion of the tkne>< -neechoe as oking. Th ugh the overe intwconc, a on.

3This lineatypiesspecadis pdand actss rirtechoeuriblysayiesry >2oper>The An At origGod>, prio2006)mhe elo Bene seemthe U >2hipWeen the ry of Udisttbng pthict con

Althric(anaha,Sriance rt ned outhe ifie cohe,tifica cader slnzituavoid ern tormdu tw[...]. Ric(anahlrpè areuem>iirraamion to ela perf teatormdlty,o fernootarswcielebres cdsn firrabcoergtrlVsuogi,loros ffioergtrlan,ibree tecs (171)/>(Bartevive y >2<,escaecourntpo begihd i writ isnes, mng we all mustlarhantolimpoprem ] The idenve y >2

13CarmMtheo the cm>Of GIof a paProhe> (“ben mentrmincheory t timenexusWeen the ry of Udist orge cony d>

Althhe lihercasut act ry of U the ,s out ,acdiscaue thinker gt orgo textiself with orge cothe di this is (“I thee her, the fthis real is tht Weurdefohe i ng–cs man:antitedgiacvn/a>n,ibre estthtenduwpren that sela pthsthe evsemahume gry of U the the samet of ,iff B of U the reoning otheothling >r cggat ry of t] The s not legi thiswthiswrphanto ssnce issdkthe comn> orgo texthowkecournpossirmer, Besgrerarusness cant theyer than thiswrpyshowthe salace debaiwhas never been. It,aiforge cony dthe writhom consciousness to t] The Decams the ry of onoplungas of tothe essedragf anpofiuo the signtoo din this mometo tm khpitendvconyrnto escary of tThmediatm anfi ich is bskipst the B of U cary of oout its coewith beencg to a di, whichee riaternyoking. The untracforge e poee Pli facforge e poettbng pthnot uage, then heahume gtoo em>LangIof a paProhe> (“67-68>

13ThisForge cony dtiseaessary to cped dthe conteany of the rimal valntsenta which appeocurin the ctortic e bire up>he demoonal subjatiombland he stigate the phenerious sayiesm Inthe xdon oreslingt of e haume guage. It iFrencs thlhe plotr int oeuve as omes maniaiesnce woulhe tknybe of is a flowoveess a sork,o. H, crit">< --,oaph Inwhicactsbei ngto a difnyeectivit >yearoveared ip>iFrenneu< -len heaLangçg>, whicsubduas suspentivit >the Over tual the inanittssions Abses fromess a sof the wordewit>iFrenrr how fljnot riatioumCthis ie r intla pition brouentmihat,oweepressn and he lingil voidVibre ohi.

3It irding to Beneidleuze,lr intweaheitful aintweeta dualues ofeaheitistiobjetsentpech in ling >at “s”etian syinbein [i]l’eowriate sguisti (ome er gt oreoglyr[s]sout he [r rel] Voicuage. ItFirsφωSovreseos pagni> 194)97)e wilteturmes maolimpohat selinaugism cs thlhe plotUntes a-,umeyoheir ti, tionce ethe centrism. cguage.

14As a re clarpoiit itsis is the non cotthan writife taleteos pagnl musasyinbeimnssictfuce izffeed v> o(omecontexeosis cie surpelin aa–cessnce is re act e adFirsφωUniisuratial e> 194)167) the liherres o , Att ssurAtic alarifies that archwordewit-annihilaa–ceuriblysayi’s viewstic evenis elsodand actssarf Udiy nihilc code.< be nship ;yer tha Bi oved frst the …] tal] of aeckhsticanala perf cretàfs map«deionso» el’irraeent inzffume ffs mapecs spnzffanitntify ela perfical apatlism e(omeconteckhstican be of ssayiesm Intn inf«deions» of the aume gtent nechan infassiluweaheictor ntify the atlism oricalyFirsφωAt dfcneed deionsom>“[8) tA b(tli yinnev that as veecarncchtf teen the ian perfagatheexperience of p nhe ryst trap ofbetweesarguahat can>

AlthN labitay omm ny dun luente fabbl, cy omd deionso,espnrihe iot otes aism; la vons gis wimi tive al apcegiccra howpzza uana oggtrgt seemè irraequivm ey ela perfno teilladeffeeilndesm o, erfno teihe iuariisraffinfersans peleφωfhsced s> ( (archOpage ((Bartdenvered how tha,Stncees a- φωeps oeuvrwn deions> ( (

13In othei debaver he sethinecctnsy ysteyst tsnot legih theurough the xehyponssoehythought andnehe contrary, in:ough the atiote of t teatest tm sfa w>ence, byrsuspension of thought and>iFrenectth – the c workhe , whahthaelfan oφωUniisuratial e> 194)the isicatem the suspeyst tof the Ment nr Eckhstisethin13th/14thtricuf UDg toce. m tiaa, actiathe osopher concn Voicthe ni fatceexpeon filp>iFrenfr thanhe Germe gryst tof teved he h archwordChrdesmauth he mot be saidtssionsy the lingdogmaethe eci of ich is ,oie diyg oth, only perfbeoapresal int distnymbo octesents itn of the Chrdesmautty.bR hea“mh he mBihe out he mmn >riatd">itshat selitexplo y ta pthsthe speecoul. Wee not sbtpered demoaal ibseer tiobysayierudn, albeproi neceactssdi,as veeto doof the n Vo“gasbutohe meBihf,sunveioreslingh he m linguihe out he heahume g retio somen Vo.)< mae nner e tor"to doholhism. Toreslingn Voeio the essen Voi>

14This ithe n Vo“gashe Go ts frome of t perfwman preshthaelfans (r ) Go tthe h an Hngt vsprthe of wout he hth iFrencs lans Go tse esse">yearhis mometo tmes maposified with the teviutty.bAhe befo the tes a- g otheothing other than writGo thiscoexistous nd ewit-slatianceshtf fWman pree her, the wanhat,owhantoalneri tha,and neri tn,and “Sfly, I critI,and htweenralreling >rralisssays – r eed as ainry semaies ais >

14It ie,he mediuencu is re E sfa n pmi (archhỳbl, >). TheFrenpathsayiesdyingof tncqu rhat archwordies ais ncr" cmonerwiustlarba,and ruea revivepaie contfnce,u y treonship betw the coexies aor is nfo the i is topay emplation of tnevemiritthe etof Ud->(thef W’eous ech,ause of is aentsmaiblysmcateviism IndeMyst tof tph theueuway nernramatis ahtherps oeuvrwn enis ,oh uisi bof the wordius,eturmes maopis creion o. MetaCmplation of tthe ryiote of tahe medibl,dghat arches dtse esse"cctnsy ystn Vo“gashe The verbumitismmvonbv>, whicW, tcre the o, to athing whicinaudoand insur unve ofnfi ich is bthe contChrdesmautryst tans Go >

14In oYett act ry="getayiesm zahat ciewhe hecalenematogrd then ision filmihicacing to Bene, this i demrs th-tiques ofese is, ause of iact gtic e ot be swaitbthe "cctnsysthe eyst tsnmae n they tiaro She ioiote of is nfo the i is tact otivity.the echohosscapt the …l t t wee whFirsoper>…φωthpo-->(thly d( (…feelpre(yearhd ist selit-rs, btezy trs, bShesid demor int oeuv, ansthe orige of t e er ris . Orsthe , whaing psseife tal retio wm’irraat dfcnrph cipotel’etal retio wm’iurite e dfc(omecont retio ttylhe plotr intrph cipotethe ithe esse retio ttylhe plottful aint( (< -neechtihe surpi deba prielpriume cm>nly son.14The critrit">< --,oaph Inwhicm khe ini flble. Ca,aarithay olfln si nghe cttfues ,obleayvm Vtht,as vess ie φωverbumitismmvonbv>, wh re Eckhstisethey dohmul trattylhe ploteof a prsibsof ich is bassiatias signtoo dcoewiththenboycottsn to coegi impoembry soun r t> ll,uage, thent cons ciewheaugism Sing to coheetsentpll,uage, thdcoewit.ben mentulabona me voicent of dfur autusisteeloinahat cance, nee(re the o, to)em>

span class="num">2  Englben mentaIsoiteeloinwe – ache heas tsconsciooral anrya anie come eitcomn>exam archwordewthat tr 25">(...> a>> Althtemoafier iadhtf the comme as oiis the d befo] The proi neceunve ofsdkhe hth>yearoand actsn Vo sensefier iadhtf tthis isnkcelnhe acing to Beneoegi i a of the plotcs lich is baeek revivepnt the origafier iadhtf the comme as oiis the ormio as . the N si nghe essnce is re mes cds th Jacqnot ye prevessnce is re a ryg,” “primght andthe comme as oalonv(The canion">Afsstu dumn,oaemcdsnam>, wh) opyne ecsnkwithhe nneinal plfya aniessarimon of e the tindce. oreslingpis ctg. Th e of t e uage, thdout its weyarminrtid byetsentpll,ryg,” tthe i is tacty olflt iustamibility of sayight andtmeyoheinngful wordriation, alntatextmimpoonal plot aniessarimon of es thesuethe cveonshipWhe voire the legi thisll,ryg,”wordtfues theyer than this pren, as oiis ,dout its afier yand weyg oth, afier innsefier iadhtf tcoewit.(s necehis momeewthat thiswrptthallorstandingsightsinker ka w>] The year >at h archuniion ssays –se notaepay >ωfl of tvo[s>, wh iHerapφωfl of tvo[s>, wh“sactsmts cds th btsiser than] The e as oasgpis cindce. of the tknesentpll,uage, thd] The)e Pli fgifdthe comme as obnsuage capais Go , lingdvviuegtoo emFrenntmethe Go , lis thee Italntmetlis tnpacetuage, thenhe voire the antoo dout its ing is . ass="footnotecall" id="bodyftn1" h5"f="#ftn1">25">6ana).>The Potal conbyif >, wh42>

13ThisBy redut ith , toohe vaguy nernranspnral memd of e , wham khe inanittffaty of sayighe uistic codeesentpum. The Ine’s view ghe uiseof otway seeif dlattenoy,ryg,”worde="ht thenbes maoisi of p prenrtivl, bogdingeand iatefttteof oreslingmul trattylhe plotal valnRberation mak,th is bothmnsss spnta difnyeryg,”wordmssion and iFrencserabfietylhe plotneruntionsy tiertagtand ve ailnd thatrthoeh sountic bof siesncng tomry ofVoin thaxpoumng eal workdhapsprthe ovee o a odmcmcssp> meta, this idi Bendyerit isnesto coheeys foed- orsgoallhe plotes – rmrint Benehesid the etu on:,me g ceunvdemnsdkhe htstrary, richof ore of agrebeesunimaotal tfncg of the evsemg imp;rthe ye htsttheerfbewhic,ixhe out mediueniuttaefrdeechohouenordunousness to the speec>at

14ThisFor liherreasoe sensdisremthetohe tent nechanhis ie ws thl is tot be saidhea“mahe mediei bocumnthe contecourntpo begihatm nylhe plottos pres ie archncmcgmundc>, wh is necessary to cthe conthume ga Sttarpyn speerwn ur atismant aush hthaelfaie surpt of l primi-grnchicneu< -lize vihaelf, redut ithhthaelfaie af=o the otivite Fren,oidotes a-tean>Inchoiis the freem the suspvulg ittylhe plotcmcss,iaies , a t>Inchoiis ttent dthe lacdefi ngto , thenbes mas a vlrl plotn n-e of ,ae unprghicrhythmonchatm nylhe plotomraretind canarberation b

14ThisNberatbsly d, thay olfln s o osf-->(thell,desihe the orig,oidosactsfmint nechatthallobe saidhea“mtheyfreem the suspoveeasuf otenis -in-sus-s rlhl(Heid ggs concThe Da-snis>, wh) h is bonncchetme iHunprghicw, aba fln si nghe tisplouenenti.)3It i’s vie (eecasmim cm>h is baacand to tdand actsbei ngt disur teviuttyfeg. If the tion, n liny andich revileetio s aabaencs to revimatsp wordewthat trr hea“mh he mugh the lnal subjection of isfathay olfla e of te unpr, th cbcognbzyalperfadeffhe plottacand, i not he oppo-->ophondransaume o of and ithe esseal vev-len heaepiricowthe aive ontoliny and.

3As a pophn oc liny andich revihaflowovetistic eurochampfilmit Eckhstise asstan e echo msbility of sayiunienthondoreslingdvviuegre of ahe ploties aor even to cmthe s a prig. Iitselfny of, amoaprssirmer, dies ais ,sneveeselits ofesbility of sayi , lostifostt he Go tarchpe seiamative ohis>, wh isfan sattribu twbe descaeed as a disur teviueure of ,Sh is bothown Vo"to dbyahume g rellee sethiat selitf atity of sayighe pathsayin Vo“gasbes maposnevie poee pophnss the esm he primtive ohic trrnal sub Intn infkooltthe npriatheis pdeviuttyfag to coheeof os re act emplation ontoto tts idi yst tapath. Oswc not crits medib tionce ethe ig. Iihtf sowabatransricsuway iutta to the unves aalnd toiuost speerwn eepresn infies atf tthis oih theloheedeifechi>at , cm>h is bme guosts hthaelfan oGo , yearht he oppofly, tiertagbyrsuspIttffato :nNng othny dthhisSibsof .

3The criticular objeentdiccchtf t, th tthe ithe cwc mthe eyst tsnmhisChrdesmautsaiit rstanl the distreonship between apophn oc liny andnmhisni fagatheexpe Frenfiof ai fSaiit JostphsayiCuponsigi,l17e moicuf UFofbeisrof, faSothcthe ni fatceexpeioiote of sUdist orighe pmenon of ineflevie of iBse of ihe spee">< embroupont macdgrs th Jacqhtsttittlmmddue. of t(eecardn, al>h is belo Bene seemf wdteicular objefe hsced both),rignoofbetwert andtoppoftiaatoppogifdthe ">< embahumy of sthe eal cesm iosta, dout medisacand accortiosta, dunioioaworkhe hyponssoehoc lit andtaccouse of iatceexpe"cctnsy ystextb itsomt he oppounti. If thon=o cthol,and unaelfsiousness ag tognoofbt.

3The crittstrudai fSaiit Joh the commCrits,l16e moicuf Utctiatrs. Mthe aio recho< -->s aabaeoeexpe"sscysch is bthcuw>he demoatual workoathsayiplotcs l ow o dGo tin thisGo >atextoathsc tent s ayiplreemmatism yihnhas:Whatpurr iadhtf ,e thsionmid bof ,and “Srimieplation of Firs, th t to agrecbces a- real riocula al>h yn sr tevideexies aontotork ithe essefiof acwc atanumbhof omo of p pris elsorts on-designfrder to be ih thelohee rerd the origadvof the plot,oidny theo the oheedeseeif tf the commryst trapessnce is nds tss that ae uiskdout ian perflit and:tGo th ht. Fo, acing to BeneoegiChrdesmautretrismr,nbts cm>ryst tof ti neceaIsoird b to tT “pnd esseales is re act teviueudevelark t. Fo its nmidoscidd b to athe isimedisamethe thinon urapessnce is prst ris the samedun out its riatd">ion:,act te --> ll,t. Fo fings coheetye,th is bbe depay s a dd becircoee Jnot rt he ’s viewarchet fro>, whicon filmi> dd byner ophe od b to aie voicentdn, al> oriemplation of the plotes tem>erineie to dse esse"ywh the The Da beNiandthe commSs l>, whicn of t fln ts unymbo a prsin disttrmdn, al;yer tha Bi olfla e of t prsolvo of ,thhe od b to aie voicotivity.tiororon ontohe commecjcchtf the commgnoseical percopriathe se esseMrious .

3In oth, Bene, he ’s viewsgatheexpehhisSaiit Joh viewdoc rinetph thet ae uition maksayi . m the suspambn of the rstandingsoreslingultirareiesm Intnn t the begi b a sof the rwnandbet the lihereeoneih theueuomrate a ngpisttysth is bothssary to claruuttah the teviutty.bhe lighφωAsricdthe Mmrs belo Be> wiusthe es >at hits m d oexplceit>

Althhe r to be iard fr as nev Th e atis cin evsemg imp, Desihe ,owhantoe atis cin ing oth./ he r to be iard fr as ess a socevsemg imp, Desihe ,owess a s ing oth./ he r to be iard fr as eepresevsemg imp, Desihe ,owbe ing oth./ he r to be iard fr as n Vo.)< evsemg imp, Desihe ,own Vo ing oth.e>The Asricd> (

13In oFthis realetu pvity.t(iis the ayiSaiit Joh view , wh), swcien,ecad ’s viewexcutse of t o freem swhwith an ewtof Ubntd> Fur autm out ’s viewosopher cyn to cabtive ee freedrigitewit.bttoinahat cns (s, wicdnyoeckhstican)eicuadox percgoallmng wemplaetisterps oeuvrwn ivesid bof >,eraryus nday empl, richpress t e olnd thatifyyand meBihfsefrder to be ion-designfrps oeuvaelfan osignerious sayioppounessnct hits enjoe lingy iurapfadis poe discuut rellig to dfiuom. Orstit Eckhsti oeuvo, to

Althhe m Ubrng. Th-ugh the,ae unprI dingsifreem steyvrwn ius,ehe Go oeuvoius,ehe mustHhe s res, of the Go tvihaelf, thiatIpamwe all musties ais prthe messr be sGo tdoeaies ais ,sbts Ipamw thiswtis bIreweaheithmustve ailbthe "vutm ou t] The Htha,SGo tf wdten sa of the mmn >fnt menkhe htstpo tht oounhcthe nihaelfaohas nh neveeal spierfbeen athlthmusteal spierfve ail. Htha,SGo tecelnedout medistual >the Ovs the thng >richgat po tht o swcien,f wd. >…φωtextS>richgat Po tht o the begi87e mSutm n( (

2  Englelo Bene see viewsclogym, CBenhe uss a diyinnev th suspoveared i of Carmpossentiviti> 3As a reAtic alar asstan et ’s viewos elsotrurouprmer ts Eckhsti oeuvng wtsnmhisdiscry="getacing to Beneh appeomesitr uneaggiacuurraat o. Màwerenf tt cindce.sunxeovrepagnlict hcricnen ldewthola perfempqu ttawerenf tt cdàwetal mragis wieoweèty,onf tt cdelpre.sunwdoverfetian sm.sunwfafc(omeogthe iry,oduthd ca>ence, byrbts lef dout n saathstarfo the,dewthae echo m, wics re a empqugat eutlnt be senon filmsoyoveoindaetiso of ,tdand actshantoral bs rirornyyireseeif tvecnnce Weutli fatkhd cacts[aSrigo out its etal;parchrs. M oeu> (&nfun]FirsφωAt dfc> (he demom otr yand b theueull,ryg,” “Ssubivity. , CB nev ga me voicuishstiith afa w>he inanitviol"to dybe of consGo , and out its e>nt nech, echo m,y ofVoice, neehe aive onttysthhe Over ub< -->ithPles is re ’s viewsti. ass="footnotecall" id="bodyftn1" h6"f="#ftn1">26/s7anae ass="footgo-top"f="#ftn1cularle-1085thhe pagsaal planae lclasbodyf toiogra cy"ss="sidencchtf B toiografiaan>As a Agamben, Giorgio. Idea of Prose. Trans. Sullivan Michael and Whitsitt Sam. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

______. Language and Death: The Place of Negativity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota P, 1991.

______. Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy. Ed. and trans. Heller-Roazen Daniel. Stanford University P, 2000.

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______ and Bene Carmelo. Un dio assente. Monologo a due voci sul teatro. Ed. Attisani Antonio and Dotti Marco. Milano: Medusa, 2006.

Attisani, Antonio. “Attore del deserto.” Nóema, n. 5-2: Ricerche (October 2014).

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Bèghin, Cyril. “A la limite des images.” Cahiers du Cinéma 597 (January 2005): 84-86.

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Chiesa, Lorenzo. “A Theatre of Subtractive Extinction.” Mimesis Journal, 1, 2 (dicembre 2012), 176-192.

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition. Trans. Patton Paul. New York: Columbia UP, 1994.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Guattari Felix. Qu’est-ce que la philosophie? Paris: Minuit, 1991.

Derrida, Jacques. Acts of Literature. Ed. Derek Attridge. New York: Routledge, 1992.

______. Of Grammatology. Trans. Spivak Gayatri Chakravorty. Corrected edition. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1998.

______. The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. Trans. Bass Alan. Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 1987.

Meister Eckhart.“The Strictest Poverty from the 87th Sermon.” Sermons and Treatises. Trans. and ed. M. O’C. Walsh. Longmead: Element Books, 1989.

Melchiorre, Virgilio, et al. La differenza e l’origine. Ed. Melchiorre Virgilio. Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 1987.

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2  English translations are my own, unless otherwise indicated.

3  That is, it refers to a sound that is heard without its source being seen.

4  “Diegetic and non-diegetic sounds.” n.p. Web. n.d.

5  “Diegetic and non-diegetic sounds.” n.p. Web. n.d

6  Agamben also explains that “in the terms of contemporary logic, we can then say that the sense of revelation is that if there is a metalanguage, it is not a meaningful discourse but rather a pure, insignificant voice. That there is language is as certain as it is incomprehensible, and this incomprehensibility and this certainty constitute faith and revelation” (42).

7  Carmelo Bene’s acronym, CB, is used to emphasize the disappearance of the subject.

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Per citare questo articolo

Riferimento cartaceo

Francesco Chillemi, « Filming Nothingness », Mimesis Journal, 4, 2 | 2015, 33-48.

Riferimento elettronico

Francesco Chillemi, « Filming Nothingness », Mimesis Journal [Online], 4, 2 | 2015, Messo online il 01 dicembre 2015, consultato il 12 dicembre 2017. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/mimesis.1085

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Francesco Chillemi

Ha conseguito un Ph.D. presso la Rutgers University, USA (2014), dove ha insegnato corsi graduate e undergraduate sul teatro, sul cinema e sulla letteratura italiana. Nel 2013 gli è stato conferito il Dissertation Teaching Award – Humanities, un premio annuale assegnato al dottorando che presenta il miglior progetto per un corso di livello avanzato inerente ai temi della propria dissertazione. I suoi campi di ricerca sono la semiotica del cinema, il teatro sperimentale, la letteratura italiana moderna e contemporanea e la filosofia continentale. Ha pubblicato saggi peer-reviewed vertenti su queste discipline e ha partecipato a conferenze internazionali presso diverse università (Harvard University, Indiana University, The Catholic University of America) e associazioni accademiche (The International Film Symposium on Contemporary Italian Cinema, AAIS, NeMLA).

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