Dante dances through hell in this experimental film

An allegory of human life exhibited in a visionary trip through Christian afterlife, the Divine Comedy was written to steer a corrupt society into the path righteousness. Dante is guided by Roman poet Virgil through hell (Inferno) and purgatory (Purgatorio), and later by his love Beatrice through heaven, in this long narrative poem regarded as one of the greatest pieces of literature known to man.

DIVINE JOURNEY Dante (in white) and Virgil (in red) in the depths of hell

And since there was no Twitter or social media in the late-13th century, #LaDivinaComedia was Dante’s way of exposing the politics and power struggle of Florence at the time. This 14,233-lined poem was a reflection of the political crisis that affected all of Italy, and most of Europe, from the 12th to 14th century—the scuffle between state and church for temporal authority.

With such an interesting premise, one wonders if there exists a good movie adaptation of the Comedia? A number of films inspired by the Divine Comedy are Nobuo Nakagawa’s Jigoku (The Sinners of Hell), Danis Tanović’s ‘Enfer (Hell), and even Disney’s 101 Damnations—obviously, a joke.

This year presents yet another reimagining of Dante’s legacy. Following the success of Being Leonardo da Vinci, an Impossible Interview by writer, producer, actor Finazzer Flory, the Divine Comedy is transformed into a multimedia theater play titled Dante per nostra fortuna (Dante out of luck). Through the metaphor of theater and the eyes of a nine-year-old child who dozed off while reading the Divine Comedy, Dante’s verses, recited by the warm voice of Massimiliano Finazzer Flory himself, are given life with dance movements.

THE DAMNED Virgil and Dante meeting souls

Michela Lucenti did the choreography, while the cinematography was inspired by Gustave Doré’s famous lithographic works.

The film will officially screen on March 25, Thursday, in Ravenna, Italy—a symbolic date and venue as the 25th of March is considered the beginning of Dante’s journey to the afterworld, while Ravenna is where he passed away 700 years ago. Simultaneously it will be screened online in Manila and other major capitals with a special heartfelt message from the author.

The Divine Comedy’s purpose is ‘to remove those living in this life from the state of misery, and lead them to the state of felicity,’ according to the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri.

This experimental film is brought to us by the Philippine Italian Association (PIA), the Dante Alighieri Society in Manila (SDA), and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCPI), under the auspices of the Embassy of Italy in the Philippines, as they joined forces with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), and many other partners. 

The showing of Dante per nostra fortuna marks the start of the celebrations in the Philippines of the 700th anniversary of Alighieri. More activities will be announced along the year.

A DATE WITH FATE The protagonist (on the floor) is transported to hell as she dreams about ‘Divine Comedy’

The film, with Dante’s Italian to better appreciate the music and stanzas, will be accessible for free and without registration necessary. Access will remain open the entire day of the screening.

Participating universities in this project are the University of the Philippines

Diliman-Film Institute, De la Salle University in Bacolod-Institute of the Moving Image, Ateneo de Naga, Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan, MINT College, and AIMS with vide-dance festival, The Fifth Wall, and the student organization UP EURO being important partners of the initiative as well. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/03/23/the-divine-comedy-gets-a-new-movie-adaptation-that-will-soon-be-screening-online/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-divine-comedy-gets-a-new-movie-adaptation-that-will-soon-be-screening-online)