I wanna be Watson! Towards an eco-phenomenology of Carmelo Bene’s cinema | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2047-7368
  • E-ISSN: 2047-7376



Carmelo Bene’s films (1968–1973) were traumatic event in the history of Italian cinema. As a ‘visual philosopher’ he developed a counter-hegemonic discourse on the Self, being ‘within and against’ a complex transmedia environment that mixes practice with theory, writing with showing, performing with directing. In this article I will analyse Bene’s visual work through a methodology inspired by Consciousness Studies. I argue that Bene’s transmedia approach of giving up the unity and the wholeness of Self may be framed into a whole philosophical philum that relates to phenomenology, post-structuralism, cognitive science and Image Theory. In the first section I will illustrate the theory of consciousness of the American philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, going back to those thinkers with whom I have found similarities (Nietzsche, Sartre, Deleuze, Žižek), and integrating the discussion with Bene’s visual–theoretical suggestions taken from his television programmes and performances. In the second part I will analyse four Bene’s films Nostra signora dei turchi/Our Lady of the Turks (1968), Capricci/Caprices (1969), Don Giovanni/Don Juan (1970) and Salomé (1972) through the theories so far discussed, in order to blur the distinction between authorship and spectatorship, in favour of a distributed experience and hermeneutics of Self through mind, body and (imaginary-situated) environment.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): consciousness; Deleuze; Dennett; film analysis; philosophy; Sartre; transmedia; Žižek
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