Tom Shadyac, “Liar Liar” (1997)

tom-shadyac-liar-liar-1997“The lawyer, played by Jim Carrey is having a terrible day and when he meets the witness he will be questioning in court later that afternoon, the guy asks, ‘how ya doin?’ and Fletcher Reed (played by Carrey) responds, ‘I’ve slipped into the 7th circle of hell how does it look like im doing!!!'”    –Yoni Shemesh

Contributed by Yoni Shemesh (Bowdoin, ’09)

“Dante’s Inferno” (Sean Meredith, Paul Zaloom, Sandow Birk, 2007)

Screen shot 2013-06-13 at 3.51.51 PM“DANTE’S INFERNO has been kicking around the cultural playground for over 700 years. But it has never before been interpreted with exquisitely hand-drawn paper puppets, brought to life using purely hand-made special effects. Until now. Rediscover this literary classic, retold in a kind of apocalyptic graphic novel meets Victoria-era toy theater. Dante’s Hell is brought to lurid 3-dimensional, high-definition life in a darkly comedic travelogue of the underworld–set against an all-too-familiar urban backdrop of used car lots, gated communities, strip malls, and the U.S. Capitol, and populated with a contemporary cast of reprobates, including famous (and infamous) politicians, presidents, popes, pimps, and the Prince of Darkness himself.”    —Dante Film

“THE last time that the artist Sandow Birk found himself concerned about responses from Muslims was in 2006. He was developing a film using puppets, inspired by his illustrations for a three-volume English-language version of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy,’ when riots broke out over the Danish newspaper cartoons representing Muhammad.
The outcry prompted Mr. Birk’s film team to reconsider its own representation of the prophet. ‘We had Muhammad in our film because he was in Dante’s poem,’ he said. ‘Dante put him in ‘Inferno’ as someone who supposedly created schisms.’ He argued at the time for respecting Dante’s treatment of Muhammad, as artists like Gustave Doré had done before him.
But the film’s producers were spooked, and Muhammad disappeared from the film. ‘I thought it was wrong to act out of fear,’ Mr. Birk said from his studio here.
‘But I was upset for another reason too,’ he admitted. His film collaborators didn’t know at the time, but quietly — privately — he had already embarked on another potentially controversial project: an effort to make by hand what he called a ‘personal Koran.’ [. . .]    –Jori Finkel, The New York Times, August 28, 2009

See Also: the “Dante’s Inferno” Trailer
See Also: Sandow Birk’s Illustrations of the “Divine Comedy” (2006)

Contributed by Zac Milner (Bowdoin, ’07)

McFarlane, McElroy, Dippe’, “Spawn” (1997)

spawn“The movie adaptation of Todd McFarlane’s mega-cult comic! Al Simmons is a hitman who works for the government. One day, someone sets him up and he gets killed. Of course, he goes to Hell, where Malebolgia – the Devil himself – offers him a deal. Al will come back to life with a certain amount of “energy”, but when it runs out, he will return to Hell as a Hellspawn, and help in the war against Heaven. Al accepts the offer, because of the love for his wife Wanda, but when he arrives to Earth he sees that the Devil has cheated him… His face is horribly distorted, his body covered with a living suit, and the worst of all; he finds Wanda married with his best friend. Shattered, the Spawn starts wandering in New York’s alleys.” [. . .]    –Chris Makrozahopoulos, IMDb

ABC Series “Lost”


“In the most recent episode (aired March 14) one particular bit of dialogue rang particularly true to me of Dante’s ideas of Purgatory and Paradise:

Kate: Why would you want to come back?
Mikhail: You would not understand.
Kate: Try me.
Mikhail: I misspoke, what I meant to say is you are not capable of understanding.
Kate: And why am I not capable?
Mikhail: Because you are not on the list.
Kate: What list?
Mikhail: The man who brought me here, who brought all of my people here, he is a magnificent man.
Mikhail: I will try to make this as simple as I can. You are not on the list because you are flawed, because you are angry and weak and frightened.

Much like the virtuous pagans who died before Christ and those whose souls have not been purified by the purgation process cannot comprehend Paradise, it seems as if, at least in the minds of “the Others” those who are not on the list, which seems to be comprised of only those who they deem good, cannot comprehend the goodness of the island. Of course, this would make the island some odd hybrid of Purgatory (since the inhabitants do seem to relive their past mistakes and, in some way, atone for them) and Paradise, since the others view the island as their paradise. Of course the others are no angels (wow that was a bad joke)–they seem to be willing to go as far as murder to protect their paradise. Perhaps this bit of dialogue is evidence that the writers were inspired by aspects of the Divine Comedy.”    –Charlie Russell-Schlesinger

Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)

Kozik’s Inferno (2000)


“Kozik’s Inferno” is a twelve-episode animated version by Frank Kozik, a rock n’ roll poster artist in San Francisco. It was featured as an internet cartoon in 2000. (Produced by W!ldbrain, Inc.)

Watch video episode here.

Contributed by George Evelyn

Troy Duffy, “The Boondock Saints” (1999)

troy-duffy-the-boondock-saints-1999“About one hour into the movie they go to a strip club to kill Ron Jeremy’s character. The door leading into the dancer’s room reads ‘Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.'”    –Charlie Russell-Schlesinger

Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Monk” Season 1 (2002)


Adrian Monk says of speed dating: “that’s like Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell.”

Contributed by Lisa Peterson (Bowdoin, ’07)

Star Trek’s First Pilot Episode, “The Cage” (1966)


Captain Pike says he feels like he is in Dante’s Inferno.

Contributed by Lisa Peterson (Bowdoin, ’07)

Sandow Birk’s Illustrations of the “Divine Comedy”


“A five year project which involved adapting the text of the entire “Divine Comedy” into contemporary slang and setting the action in contemporary urban America. The project resulted in three, limited edition books, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Each book contained more than 60 original lithographs and was published by Trillium Press in San Francisco.”    —Sandow Birk

See also: Sandow Birk’s film “Dante’s Inferno” (2007)

Hell, the Musical


“The Vatican has challenged purist Roman Catholics by disclosing plans for a daring rock, punk and jazz opera version of Dante’s Divine Comedy with a soundtrack written by an avant-garde priest.
Monsignor Marco Frisina uses rock music as background for the Inferno, Gregorian chants for Purgatory and lyrical and symphonic classical and modern music for the advent of Paradise in the musical set to be staged in the autumn.
After a premier in a leading Rome theatre sponsored jointly by the Vatican and Italy’s two houses of parliament, the extravaganza will tour other major Italian and European cities ‘to bring back the attention of the widest public to Dante’s immortal poem,’ Riccardo Rossi, director general of Nova Ars, the company producing the opera, told La Repubblica newspaper.”    –John Phillips, The Independent, January 3, 2007

See also : La Divina Commedia home page.

Contributed by Gloria Smith; Patrick Molloy