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I finally got the chance to see Wilde Salome at the Lammele Theater in LA, during its limited 1 week theatrical run. Pacino filmed this documentary back in 2006 while he was performing the play Salome at a Los Angeles Theater. This documentary follows a similar structure to that of Pacino's first directorial feature film "Looking For Richard", however Pacino does experiment quite a bit with this film. I must say that this is a very unique and unconventional documentary in that Pacino is attempting to accomplish 3 different goals. One is to provide insight in Oscar Wilde's life and the origins and history of his play Salome. Secondly, to film a behind the scenes documentary into his stage production of Salome in Los Angeles from 2006. And lastly, to actually film an entire live performance of Salome for the purpose of adapting it for a film viewing experience. The film version of the play is simply called "Salome" and was a double feature and shown right after the documentary "Wilde Salome" screened.
For me, the experience was very interesting. I was not too familiar with Oscar Wilde nor the play Salome, and Pacino does a good job of explaining the history of both subjects especially the themes that are at play in Salome. Similarly to Looking For Richard, its very entertaining to see the actors rehearse and ultimately the actual footage of Pacino and Jessica Chastain performing is amazing. This film was also Jessica's first feature film debut, Pacino basically discovered her when he was hosting auditions for Salome back in New York. She is amazing as Salome! She displays all of the sexuality, energy, and fire that is Salome and she knocks it out of the park. Pacino plays King Herod and also delivers a very nuanced and well rounded performance. What I also really liked about the film is how effective Pacino is at filming the actual performance of the play. Strategic camera placement and the use of close-up's really allow us as an audience to feel and see these characters come to live.
If you are fan of Al Pacino, or even an avid theater lover, then I highly recommended this film. It makes sense to me now after learning that it took Pacino nearly 7 years of editing to get this complex documentary down right, and I believe he achieved exactly what he was going for.
Al Pacino takes on a new approach playing himself directing a stage play based on the works of Oscar Wilde, making a movie about it and at the same time shooting a documentary
working with co-star Jessica Chastain the movie itself is very self-aware of its own brand of meta
Pacino has this daunting task of bringing Salome to life to a wider audience; still he's dealing with the burden of reading all of Wilde's literature, learning about him, keeping the shooting schedule and doing the rehearsals
I love how the actors play themselves but also other parts as well showcasing their dramatic weight acting outside of the usual mainstream of Hollywood filmmaking
Chastain in particular delivers a searing performance as the female lead from the story
it has that self-mockery that goes with an actor's passion for trying something new
the play portion is actually my favorite portion of the film
this is a likeable, funny, and dramatic Spinal-Tapp-ish flick
I really love Al Pacino, but this was particular movie was a total waste of time!
Pacino does for Oscar Wilde what he did for Shakespeare in "Looking For Richard", making a documentary of the film that he's simultaneously staging as a play, and the results are equally compelling. By the end, we urgently want to immerse ourselves in the entire oeuvre of a great writer through the sheer force of Pacino's obsession with the man and the material. Kevin Anderson, Jessica Chastain, and Roxanne Hart highlight an excellent supporting cast.
Al Pacino puts on a very nice staging of Oscar Wilde's play based on The Bible parable "B*tches Be Cray Yo!".
Interesting documentary with the peculiar Al Pacino about Oscar Wilde, in what seemed to be a very intriguing road for this to be done. Also with then newcomer Jessica Chastain, who was the main reason why I decided to watch this, and she doesn't disappoint like always.
~April 11, 2015~
A very different Sunday afternoon with Nick Marsh
"Wilde Salomé" chronicles the making of Al Pacino's "Salomé" - a fiery adaptation of Oscar Wilde's controversial play. Fuelled by his curiosity and fascination with the play and playwright, the documentary serves as Pacino's dissertation on "Salomé." Written over a hundred years ago, "Salomé" is a bewitching tale of obsession, desire and a lover's scorn. Sifting through history, travelling from Ireland to London, and adapting from stage to screen, Pacino crosses time, place and medium to explore these themes.
"Wilde Salomé" also allows the audience to see Jessica Chastain in one of her first films. The actress completely devours her role, playing Salomé with allure and intelligence. As the virginal princess, she's naïve and childlike, then maddening desire transforms her into a cruel and indomitable temptress. It's easy to see why Pacino chose her as his muse.