The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005, dir. by Cristi Puiu)

Death-of-Mr-Lazarescu-Cristi-Puiu-Dante“Set in Bucharest, Romania, an ailing old man is carried by an ambulance from hospital to hospital during one night, while doctors refuse to treat
him. The ever-worsening journey of Mr Lazarescu, whose first name is Dante becomes a descent into the Underworld of Romania’s medical
services. Echoes to Dante abound.” — Contributor Cristian Ispir

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is the first instalment in a projected series of ‘Six Stories from the Bucharest Suburbs’. Puiu cites Eric Rohmer’s Moral Tales as his chief inspiration, but on this evidence an equally telling parallel would be Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog, though Puiu is more inclined towards self-conscious symbolism than the Pole. There are characters called Dante and Virgil and an unseen Dr Anghel, and the various hospital trips and their cyclical routines would match anyone’s idea of hell. And although the film’s title and mounting medical evidence suggests the opposite, Lazarescu’s own name hints that some kind of miraculous resurrection might be in prospect. It’s not just the film’s ambiguous ending that supports this, but also Fiscuteanu’s uncannily convincing portrayal of a man increasingly aware that he’s crossing the bridge between life and death but fiercely determined not to go without a fight, even as his faculties betray him. If Puiu’s main theme is the absence of love, his film is ultimately about the love of life.” — Review by Michael Brooke for the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound magazine

Contributed by Cristian Ispir (University College London/Université de Lorraine)

Dustin Rosemark’s Inferno Film

Dustin-Rosemark-Inferno-Film-Kickstarter“We’re making an independent HORROR/THRILLER hybrid, executed with hand-made PRACTICAL EFFECTS and shot entirely on 8mm & 16mm B+W FILM.

“Inferno is a contemporary adaptation of Dante’s Inferno. The film will be shot entirely on traditional motion picture film with hand-made practical effects. Inferno is the story a Dante, a man in the midst of a midlife crisis. At the beginning of the film Dante is a lost soul, unsure of himself and his future. With the help of his guide Virgil, he descends into the underworld and through each of the nine circles of Hell. Each circle represents a different mortal sin, and each circle teaches Dante a different lesson on his path to enlightenment. Along the way the pair encounter treacherous allies, villainous monsters and a number of things that aren’t quite what they seem. Ultimately Dante reaches the 9th and final circle of Hell, where me meets Lucifer and learns a lesson which will change him forever.” — Kickstarter Page for Dustin Rosemark’s Inferno

“Francesca da Rimini”: Ballet Meets Robotics


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Francesca da Rimini is an experiment in using a robotically controlled camera to capture ballet. Starring dancers Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada, Francesca is based on a story from Dante’s Inferno and set to Tchaikovsky’s Francesca Da Rimini. The entire performance was filmed with motion control camera movements designed to synchronize with the dancer’s every step. The camera moves as if operated by a third performer, fluidly orbiting around the two dancers from the intimate perspective of another artist on stage. Using a combination of motion capture, 3D animation, and industrial robotics, Francesca demonstrates how the synthesis of art and technology can bring a new perspective to a classic art form.” — Director of Photography Joe Picard

Director: Tarik Abdel-Gawad
Dancers: Maria Kochetkova & Joan Boada
Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov

To learn more about the project, see the Making-Of film here: Ballet Meets Robotics: The Making of Francesca Da Rimini.

Riccardo Milani, Come un gatto in tangenziale (2018)

A still from the film

Contributed by Silvia Salvatici and Gianni Guastella

Dante and Hugh Grant

“In the children’s film Paddington 2 (December 2017), the vain and pretentious villain, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), keeps a bust of Dante’s head among the lavish collection of photographs of himself in his London drawing room. A publicity featurette shows the actor Hugh Grant with his Dante head at 0:21 seconds, coinciding with the words “incredible vanity.”    –Cormac O Cuilleanain

Contributed by Cormac O Cuilleanain

Dante as guide in “Coco” (2017)

Miguel and Dante

 

[…] “Miguel, the 12-year-old protagonist of ‘Coco,’ embarks on such a quest. Along with his companion, a stray dog fittingly named Dante, he treks through the underworld while facing obstacles and bad omens that pop up constantly. (In Spanish ‘coco’ means ‘boogeyman,’ which is a nickname for the devil.) But since this is a children’s movie, the challenges bring laughter, which isn’t altogether alien to Mexico’s approach to death. To laugh at death in Mexico is to be courageous.” […]    –Ilan Stavans, The New York Times, December 11, 2017

Patrick Cassidy, Vide Cor Meum

Patrick-Cassiday-Vide-Cor-Meum-Hannibal-Dante-Vita-Nuova

“Vide Cor Meum” is an aria by Irish composer Patrick Cassidy. The aria, based on Dante’s sonnet “A ciascun’alma presa e gentil core,” was originally composed as a mini opera for the 2001 Ridley Scott film Hannibal. The aria was performed on the grounds of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence for the production of the film, which stars Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.

The scene of the performance is available to view on YouTube.

See Dante Today‘s post on the film Hannibal here.

Yahoo! Movies: “Did Inferno Get Dante Right? We Asked an Expert”

inferno-dante-tom-hanks-deborah-parker“In Inferno, based on the Dan Brown novel, the only thing that stands between humanity and a devastating plague is Robert Langdon’s knowledge of Dante’s Inferno. In reality, if you were trying to outsmart a Dante-obsessed bioterrorist, you’d probably want to ring up Deborah Parker before you called in Tom Hanks. A professor of Italian literature and art at the University of Virginia, Parker is the general editor of the website The World of Dante, a multimedia resource for studying Dante’s 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy (of which Inferno, the author’s imagined journey through the nine levels of Hell, is the first part). She’s also the co-author of Inferno Revealed: From Dante to Dan Brown, which takes a deep dive into the Dante references in Brown’s novel. On the heels of Inferno’s lackluster opening weekend at the box office, Yahoo Movies spoke with Parker about what the film gets right, what it gets very wrong, and why the Map of Hell on Parker’s website is more authentic than the one in the film.” —Yahoo! Movies, “Did Inferno Get Dante Right? We Asked an Expert” (Oct. 31, 2016)

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl (2012)

gone-girl-movie-still-abandon-all-hopeIn both the book and the movie Gone Girl the main character, Amy, says about marriage: “Marriage is compromise and hard work, and then more hard work and communication and compromise. And then work. Abandon all hope, ye who enter.”

For the 2012 book by Gillian Flynn, see the Gone Girl page on Flynn’s website.

For the 2014 film directed by David Fincher, see the film’s official website.

Contributed by Autumn Friesen (University of Texas ’16)

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

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“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