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Al Pacino speaking about his Salomé film at the TCD Philosophical Society in Dublin in 2006.
Al Pacino speaking about his Salomé film at the TCD Philosophical Society in Dublin in 2006.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Al Pacino coming to Dublin for film fest - and Oscar Wilde

The actor became so obsessed with the Wilde play Salomé that he made a documentary about it -and will present it at Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.
Dec 7th 2011, 12:38 PM 2,308 2

SCREEN LEGEND AL Pacino has just been confirmed to attend the 10th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival next February.

The Godfather veteran actor is to present the Irish premiere of Wilde Salomé, a documentary which Pacino has described as his “most personal project ever”. The doc follows Pacino as he “explores the complexities of Oscar Wilde’s notorious 1891 play Salomé and Wilde himself”. The film is a blend of footage from a documentary on Wilde’s life, from a film version of the play and from a reading of the play. Pacino himself will feature in parts of it, playing King Herod while Jessica Chastain – most recently scene in movie release The Help – also features.

When Pacino visited Dublin in November 2006 to accept honorary patronage of the Trinity College Philosophical Society, he spoke about his interest in Wilde and said that he was producing a film centred around the play Salomé. He had been performing in a version of the play at the Wadsworth Theatre in LA that summer and rehearsals had been filmed by a camera crew for the documentary. Wilde Salomé had its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival this year.

Although Wilde wrote Salomé in French in 1891, it wasn’t staged for the first time until 1896 when Wilde was already in prison. A planned performance of it in London was stopped in 1892 in an act of censorship over the sexual content of the play and over its depiction of Biblical characters – it only opened in England in 1905. Wilde had died five years earlier.

It isn’t the first time Pacino has filmed a doc about his favourite literary masterpieces – in 1996, his documentary Looking for Richard delved into the Shakespearean play Richard III.

Gráinne Humphreys, Director of JDIFF, said that she was personally delighted to welcome Pacino to Dublin. She said:

A provocateur, an innovator and a consummate artist who has created some of the most iconic characters in movie history, he is also a film director driven by his personal passions. The festival is honoured to present the Irish premiere of Wilde Salomé – a new film by one of the world’s greatest screen actors.

This is a trailer that might help explain what Wilde Salomé is about. Keep an eye out for a glimpse of Dublin at around 0:27. Try not to focus on Pacino’s headband in the interview bits.

Read Salomé in GoogleBooks here>

The JDIFF festival site is up and running here>

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Susan Daly

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