CIX, Hello Chapter 3: Hello, Strange Time (2020)

See the video teaser trailer here 

Contributed by Justin Meckes

La Porta dell’Inferno – Beyond the Gate

“After Beyond the Castle’s success, we embarked in a new project that celebrates Italian culture. Together with the most prestigious school of Milan, the Collegio San Carlo, we created a new virtual reality experience that focuses on Dante’s Divine Comedy. In The Hell’s Gate students can embody Dante and walk through the dark forest. This will allow them to approach this masterpiece in an innovative and engaging way.”    —Beyond the Gate, 2019

WaPo Review of Murakami, Killing Commendatore

“The middle of life is a second adolescence, with no one left to admire our suffering. All of Dante’s work is a beautiful, unconvincing riposte to the sense of anguish this age can bring: ‘Midway along the journey of our life, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, for I had wandered from the straight path,’ he writes. Eventually he makes it to Paradise; but nobody reads that part.

“The great Japanese author Haruki Murakami grew famous writing about the tender melancholy of youth. (Norwegian Wood made him so recognizable in Japan that he left.) Reading books from that period, you feel sad without knowing why — and yet, within that sadness glows a small ember of happiness, because to feel sad is at least to feel honestly.

“Now, in his 60s, he has begun to consider middle age more carefully, as if he sees himself most clearly across a 20-year lag. It’s the subject of his underrated Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and also of his immersive, repetitive, big-hearted new novel, Killing Commendatore.”   –Charles Finch, “Haruki Murakami turns his gaze toward middle age,” Washington Post, October 8, 2018

Another review, posted on the blog Happy Antipodean on December 1, 2018, also likens Murakami’s novel to Dante’s poem.

Epigraph to the Novel Snow Falling on Cedars – David Guterson

“In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost. Ah, how hard a thing it is to tell what a wild , and rough, and stubborn wood this was, which in my thought renews the fear!”    –David Guterson, Epigraph to Snow Falling on Cedars, September 1994

Check out Snow Falling on Cedars on Amazon here.

Contributed by Daniel Christian.

Dante, Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)

“Dante (ダンテ, Dante) is the central antagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 anime series, first introduced in Episode 32. She is a heartless elderly woman and a formidable alchemist herself. Posing as the master and the benefactor of the Homunculi, Dante is responsible for setting in motion the events of the series and the challenges its protagonists must face along the way, and orchestrates her agenda within the shadows of the Amestrian government and military.

[. . .]

She may be named after the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, famous for writing the Divine Comedy, a three-part poem with the first chapter, Inferno, taking place in the Nine Circles of Hell. In fact in the Italian dub of the episode title ‘Dante of the Deep Forest’ was translated to ‘Dante Della Selva Oscura’ (lit. ‘Dante of Dark Forest’ [sic]), a reference to the beginning of Alighieri’s poem.”    —Fullmetal Alchemist Wiki, February 24, 2020

Learn more about the Fullmetal Alchemist series here.

Contributed by Andrea Beauvais (Luther College)

Originally posted January 26, 2010. Post updated September 4, 2020.

The Eyelid (2020) Review

The Eyelid spins a rich and rewarding political fantasy out of this anxiety over the colonization of dreams and the subconscious by corporate power. As it begins the narrator is introduced to the dreamland of Onirica by an erudite and romantic ambassador named Chevauchet who plays the role of Virgil to the narrator’s Dante, leading him through ‘the dark wood of nocturnal imaginings’ while explaining the meaning and revolutionary role that dreams play in the global economy.”    –Alex Good, The Star, April 9, 2020

Check out The Eyelid on Amazon.

Selva Oscura

Selva Oscura is a music documentary that explores the creative process during the making of a music video for the song ‘Stolidi Pensieri.’ It also references the opening of Dante’s Inferno and translates to ‘The Dark Forest.’ It’s symbolic of a journey to unknown destinations, which is also our story, as we accidentally created a living project that never had a predetermined outcome and led us in a direction where we were all free to experiment within our disciplines.”    –John Welsh, Vimeo, September 8, 2017

“Empty Nester In ‘The Woods’: A Modern Dantean Journey”

“Allowing for translation, those are the immortal opening lines of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Here, some seven centuries later, are some of Lynn Darling’s opening lines from her new memoir, Out of the Woods: ‘The summer my only child left home for college, I moved from an apartment in New York City, to live alone in a small house at the end of a dirt road in the woods of central Vermont.'”    —

Learn more about Lynn Darling’s 2014 book Out of the Woods here.

Out of the Woods can be found on Amazon.

Patch Adams (1998)

“Or as the poet Dante put it, ‘In the middle of the journey of my life, I found myself in a dark wood, for I had lost the right path.’ Eventually I would find the right path, but in the most unlikely place.”    –Robin Williams as Hunter “Patch” Adams, Patch Adams (1998)

See IMDb for more about the film by Tom Shadyac.

“Walking With Dante” – The Colin McEnroe Show

On a 2015 episode of Connecticut Public Radio’s The Colin McEnroe Show, Colin McEnroe, Chion Wolf, and guests Joseph Luzzi, Ron Jenkins, and Rod Dreher discuss the dark wood of the Inferno.

“The story of The Divine Comedy is an adventure story based on Dante’s real life in 14th century Italy. He was deeply wrapped up in the politics of his time. He was a city official, diplomatic negotiator, poet, and a man who dared to cross the pope. He was exiled from his city, never to return under threat of death. He left all behind, except his unrequited love for Beatrice.

“Nearly broken and in a ‘dark wood’ of grief in midlife, Dante wrote a masterpiece that is remarkably relevant today for all of us who have ever been in the dark wood of loss. This hour, we talk to three people who walked with Dante through the dark wood.” [. . .]    –Betsy Kaplan, Connecticut Public Radio, September 28, 2015.

You can listen to the episode and check out the associated links on the WNPR site.