Zhao Liang’s “Inferno”-inspired documentary (2016)

interviews_zhaoliang__article-hero-1130x430

“Zhao Liang’s Behemoth blurs the lines between video art and documentary, visually exploring multiple open-pit coal mines in the sparse hinterlands of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The film, loosely inspired by Dante’s Inferno, forgoes the spoken word completely. It stylistically melds poetry and performance art to portray the lives of various coal miners and iron smelters as they struggle to produce raw material fast enough for China’s ever-growing economy. The largely plotless film draws one in through the sheer juxtaposition of its monstrous, inhuman-sized landscapes and the intimate close-ups of miners’ soot-covered faces. Though banned from being screened inside China, the film was shown to a packed house in an underground screening room on the outskirts of Beijing this past February. The next day, we sat down in Zhao’s Beijing art studio, where the filmmaker was as wry in his humor as he was cynical, discussing everything from his views on censorship to the relationship between art and activism.”

See the interview in Slant, March 16, 2016.

Trailer

 

Mark Levinson, Particle Fever (2013)

Particle-Fever-LAC-doc-Circle-art-poster-Dante“For the first time, a film gives audiences a front row seat to a significant and inspiring scientific breakthrough as it happens. Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation. […]

“Directed by Mark Levinson, a physicist turned filmmaker, from the inspiration and initiative of producer David Kaplan and masterfully edited by Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, The Godfather trilogy), Particle Fever is a celebration of discovery, revealing the very human stories behind this epic machine.”

During the course of the documentary (released in 2013), particle scientist Fabiola Gianotti quotes Inferno 26: “fatti non foste a viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza.”

For more on the film, including links to the official trailer, still photos, and video clips, see the official film website.

Contributed by Yuhan Jin (Notre Dame, ’15)