Martin Scorsese, “Cape Fear” (1991)

martin-scorsese-cape-fear-1991In the film, Robert De Niro’s character utters the line:
“‘I’m Virgil and I’m guidin’ you through the gates of Hell. We are now in the Ninth Circle, the Circle of Traitors. Traitors to country! Traitors to fellow man! Traitors to GOD! You, sir, are charged with betrayin’ the principles of all three! Quote for me the American Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct, Canon Seven.'”    –IMDb

Contributed by Joe Henderson (Bowdoin, ’10)

Sarah Lovett, “Dantes’ Inferno: A Dr. Sylvia Strange Novel” (2002)

sarah-lovett-dantes-inferno-a-dr-sylvia-strange-novel-2002“The author of the critically acclaimed novels Dangerous Attachments and Acquired Motives is back with another spellbindingly original thriller featuring forensic psychiatrist Sylvia Strange. Now, in Dantes’ Inferno, Sylvia is called to Los Angeles from her New Mexico home when a massive explosion blasts through the J. Paul Getty Museum, endangering children on a field trip and claiming two lives. The police peg notorious bomber John Dantes as the mastermind, even though he’s in a maximum-security prison, serving a life sentence for another bombing he claims he didn’t commit.” [. . .]    —Amazon

Janet Jensen, “Dante’s Equation” (2006)

janet-jensen-dantes-equation-2006“Science and sci-fi go hand in hand in this ambitious, if not entirely successful, thriller by Jensen (Millennium Rising), which incorporates elements of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) as well as theoretical physics. During WWII, physicist and mystic Rabbi Yosef Kobinski vanished from Auschwitz in a blinding flash of light. Kobinski left behind at the camp his Kabbalist masterpiece, The Book of Torment, to be buried for safekeeping. Half a century later, a Jerusalem rabbi and an American journalist are trying to find it.”    –Publishers Weekly, Amazon

“Hannibal” (Ridley Scott, 2001)

hannibal-ridley-scott-2001Hannibal is set in Florence where the notorius Hannibal Lecter is posing as a medievalist and Dante scholar. He lectures on the Divine Comedy and recites poetry from the Vita nuova, as well as attends an operatic adaptation of the Vita nuova. Apart from these explicit references to Dante, there is also a sense in which the homicidal methods he employs mirror, contrapasso like, the sins of his victims, all of whom are in some sense bad. The noble folk, Starling and a nurse, are spared, despite HL’s ample oppourtunities to kill them. It is difficult to equate any of the movie’s characters with those of the Divine Comedy, although Lector does in a sense play Virgil to Starling’s pilgrim; but in his role as avenger of evil, serial killer, HL appears more like the wrathful Old Testament God.”    –Peter Schwindt

For a compilation of references to Dante in the film, see the post on the website greatdante.net.

Contributed by Peter Schwindt