Culture at the Cinema: ‘Salomé’

From left, Philip Arditti, Raad Rawi, Lloyd Hutchinson, Lubana al Quntar and Paul Chahidi in rehearsal for ‘Salomé.’

The biblical story of Salome is well known, and on July 15, for one night only, resident theater lovers will have the opportunity to see one director’s interpretation of the tale.

Regal Camana Bay brings Yaël Farber’s version of “Salomé” to the big screen – a recording of the live production on stage in the U.K.

The story has been told before, but never like this.

An occupied desert nation. A radical from the wilderness on hunger strike. A girl whose mysterious dance will change the course of the world.

This charged retelling turns the infamous biblical tale on its head, placing the girl we call Salomé at the center of a revolution.

Internationally acclaimed theater director Yaël Farber (“Les Blancs”) draws on multiple accounts to create her urgent, hypnotic production on the stage of the National Theatre.

The story of Salomé

According to the Gospels of Mark (6:14–29) and Matthew (14:1–12), Herod Antipas had imprisoned John the Baptist for condemning his marriage to Herodias, the divorced wife of his half brother Herod Philip.

When Salomé danced before Herod and his guests at a festival, he promised to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, Herodias, who was infuriated by John’s condemnation of her marriage, the girl demanded the head of John the Baptist on a platter, and the unwilling Herod was forced by his oath to have John beheaded. Salomé took the platter with John’s head and gave it to her mother.

Oscar Wilde’s one-act play “Salomé” (published in 1893, first performed in 1896) was translated by Hedwig Lachmann as the libretto for Richard Strauss’s one-act opera of the same name (first produced in 1905), in which Herod is portrayed as lusting after Salomé, while Salomé, in her turn, desires John the Baptist; she finally satisfies her corrupt wishes by kissing the lips of the severed head of John, who had spurned her. Hence, Salomé has become an erotic symbol in art, and it is likely that it is her provocative “Dance of the Seven Veils” in the Strauss opera that most people connect with her name, although no such dance is mentioned in the Bible.


  • “It looks amazing – with restlessly rotating stages, slow-mo physicality, cinema-epic robes and tableaux vivants worthy of Caravaggio.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Yaël Farber proves that she does riveting ritual intensity better than anybody else.” – Independent
  • “A beautiful, mesmerising production. A bold new interpretation.” – Radio Times

Tickets are $40; no one under the age of 18 will be admitted. Doors open at 7 p.m. with show at 8 p.m. See for more info.

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