Dante’s Hell

“Soon, the world will be able to see an extraordinary film based on Dante Alighieri’s literary masterpiece, the Divine Comedy – Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise.  Dante’s Hell is the first slate of a vibrant and historic documentary trilogy, which could be the blockbuster of the year.  Not until now, has this story been told so descriptively by visual art from artists of the highest caliber and an array of celebrities and known scholars.

Dante’s Hell, produced and directed by Boris Acosta, is a compelling four-quadrant and spectacular documentary like no other, presented as a visual and narrative journey to InfernoDante’s Hell is a rare and unique film featuring an amazing international cast such as Eric Roberts and Franco Nero, among more than 30 celebrities, scholars and artists from Italy, US, UK, including Monsignor Marco Frisina from The Vatican.”    —

“Dante’s Inferno has always been so funny to me…”


“Dante’s Inferno has always been so funny to me because its this really important classic that is constantly referenced, but at the same time it’s really just a burn book. Dante Alighieri is Regina George and he wrote an entire book about a bunch of people he hates and why he hates them. Dante took out his pink gel pen and wrote out in big cursive letters: Achilles is a slut.”   —aphrodarling on tumblr (April 24, 2019)

Regina George is the antagonist of the 2004 film Mean Girls.

Contributed by Kate McKee (Bowdoin College ’22)

Dante’s Inferno in Antrum (2018)?

“The allegedly cursed supernatural found footage film, Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made, recently released for viewers that want to tempt fate. It contains over a hundred sigils and countless references to demonic entities, deities, and spiritual practices. The most captivating aspect of the film are the five layers that siblings Oralee and Nathan go through as they dig deeper towards the pit of hell.

In Antrum, the two siblings venture to the forest to free their dog Maxine from hell. The location is known for keeping evil demons from escaping and the exact spot where the devil landed when he was banished from heaven. It is where the devil placed the gates to hell and, in order to get to its core, the characters must go through the layers that separate them from it.

Their exploration in the supernatural forest resembles one that 14th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote about in his the Divine Comedy, better known as Inferno.  Which brings up the question: are Oralee and Nathan going through the layers of hell depicted in Dante’s Inferno? Here are all of the clues that the two are in the hell described by the poet nearly 700 years ago.”    –Marian Phillips, Screen Rant, April 30, 2020

Dante 01 (2008) Review

“There will be three circles to this particular hell, introduced by the words ‘First Circle’ and so forth, superimposed over the darkness of space. Voiceover by the craft’s lucid and compassionate Persephone (Simona Maicanescu), one of three doctors on board, tells us that everybody on the crucifix-shaped vessel Dante 01 is doomed. Cool.

In the bravura opening, a shuttle docks to deliver two passengers. Frozen, shrink-wrapped Saint Georges (Lambert Wilson) is rudely defrosted and left to vomit and sweat with understandable acclimation problems.

Other passenger is no-nonsense doctor Elisa (Linh Dan Pham, in an impressive 180 from her role as Roman Duris’ piano teacher in ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’).  She’s there to use the prisoners as guinea pigs for a new nanotechnology-derived ‘treatment’ that’s obviously really painful, not to mention unethical and evil. Her corporate approach is odious, but mission chief Charon (Gerald Laroche) sanctions it.”    –Lisa Nesselson, Variety, January 2, 2008

Check out our original post about Dante 01 here.

Cacciaguida (2019 short film)

Cacciaguida is a 2019 short film by Davide Del Mare and produced by Lateral Film.

“Lo chiamavano così Vincenzo Casillo, perché nella Divina Commedia Cacciaguida è la figura che più di ogni altra evoca la purezza dei costumi antichi, con quella sua fusione di aspettative universali che si proiettano verso l’avvenire.

“Già a dieci anni gli somigliava molto: ovunque posasse il suo sguardo era l’immenso. Pinuccio, Masino e Cannelunga, i suoi amici di sempre, vi ritrovavano lo stesso sguardo indomito.

[. . .]

Cacciaguida è uno spazio intimo, dove i valori più elementari eppure più indispensabili tornano ad essere legittimati: l’amicizia, il diritto alla scoperta, l’appartenenza, l’amore. Uno spazio dove non ci sono segreti, dove l’unica regola è l’autenticità.”  — Marilù Ardillo, “«Cacciaguida» e la cura del sogno: La vita di Vincenzo Casillo diventa un film,” Vita (March 11, 2019)

See more about the short film, including the trailer, on Facebook and YouTube.

John Wick: Chapter Three — Parabellum (2019 film)

John-Wick-Three-Parabellum-Library“Near the start of the film, John Wick: Chapter Three – Parabellum (2019), the eponymous hitman (played by Keanu Reeves) is at the New York Public Library when he is surprised by another assassin, Ernest (a cameo by Boban Marjanovic), who makes his introduction by reading a tercet from Ulysses’ speech in Inferno 26, and then mentioning Dante by name: ‘Consider your origins: / you were not made to live as brutes, / but to follow virtue and knowledge’ (Inf. 26. 118-120).”  –Contributor Devin Fernandez

The Philadelphia Enquirer describes the fight scene between Reeves’s character and basketball-star-and-acting-newcomer Marjanovic as follows: “In the scene, Boban’s character is the first of what will be a hundred or so assassins who try to kill Wick, so it’s a small role but with a prominent position in the film. Reeves is the star, of course, and the outcome of the scene is never in doubt. Even so, [director Chad] Stahelski finds some (wait for it) novel ways to administer the final blow. The phrase ‘eat your words’ comes to mind.

“’He a super-nice guy. Very humble, and I remember he paid a lot of attention to detail. He really practiced his lines, and he got a lot of coaching from Keanu. This is like his first movie gig, and he’s quoting Dante’s Inferno, so it was a lot to ask. I give him credit, because that was a long day, and he really held up well and contributed.’”  — Gary Thompson, “‘John Wick 3’ director talks about pairing Keanu Reeves with Sixers center Boban Marjanovic for a major fight scene,” Philadelphia Enquirer, May 10, 2019

Contributed by Carlos Devin Fernandez (University of Texas at Austin, PhD Candidate)

CATS Review: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here” by Scott Wampler

In his review of Cats (2019), Scott Wampler titles his piece “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here” to signify the negative contents of his review. Wampler writes:

“The cats are introducing themselves, by the way, as a means for auditioning for death. We learn early on that one of them will soon be selected to die and ascend to The Heavyside Layer (which is basically the cats’ version of Heaven), and the entire movie is about finding out which of these gigantic assholes will win the Big Prize. Along the way there are pratfalls, screaming, terrible puns, bullying (again, these cats are giant dicks to each other) and a truly shocking number of crotch shots. Whatever circle of Hell this is, it’s an incredibly unpleasant place. At first it’s kind of funny – you honestly can’t believe what’s happening onscreen, that anyone would have spent roughly $100M bringing this abomination into the world – but soon enough its commitment to sensory overload becomes overwhelming. At a certain point, I felt like I was going insane.” [. . .]    –Scott Wampler, Birth. Movies. Death., December 20, 2019.

Contributed by Su Ertekin-Taner (The Bolles School, ’22)

“Observations on Heaven from Dante’s Paradiso That Also Apply to These Stills of Linda Hamilton”

“In a literary and historicist sense, Dante’s Divine Comedy was a multi-volume narrative poem that advanced some notable theological suppositions about the afterlife as well as some hot takes about Italian political and religious figures of the age and also working in some somewhat yikes fantasies about Dante’s crush, Beatrice, and idealized bromance with dead poet Virgil. In a looser, more abstract, in some ways more honest sense, though, Dante’s hysterically adulating depictions of Heaven and his crush Beatrice hanging out in it in Paradiso are also about what a fucking unreal silver fox Linda Hamilton is in the latest Terminator offering, Dark Fate. (Mackenzie Davis gays, you will have your day; this one is mine.)

When Dante was writing about being so overcome with emotion at the luminous landscape of Paradise that he was unable to speak, he may have been originally referencing an extremely specific medieval Catholic spiritual concept — but we have the benefit of centuries of context and wisdom that Dante did not, and can see that in another, more accurate way, they also reference the fact that Linda Hamilton remains an untouchable smokeshow, and is arguably even more of one than when she originally featured as my root in Terminator 2.”    –Rachel, Autostraddle, October 9, 2019

“Brakhage: When Light Meets Life”

“His mission, which he pursued with a zealous intensity, was to liberate the eye from such ‘prescribed’ ways of seeing. The insect wings, twigs, and fragments of flowers and leaves that he applied directly to strips of 16mm film in Mothlight (1963) and 35mm in The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981); the streaks and globs of paint that seem to shine with an inner illumination in films like The Dante Quartet (1987); the arcs of light that bend around the underwater surfaces of Boulder Creek in Commingled Containers (1996): Brakhage’s films train you to look at the world as if it were—as he wrote in the first paragraph of his 1963 book Metaphors on Vision—’alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement.’

[. . .]

“In these cases, figurative footage occasionally still appeared in odd and unexpected settings—one section of The Dante Quartet was painted over what Brakhage identified as ‘a worn-out 70mm print of Irma la Douce.'”    –Max Nelson, The New York Review of Books, June 8, 2017

Still from Brakhage’s film The Dante Quartet, 1987

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.