A Cinematic Celebration of the 750th Anniversary of the Birth of Dante Alighieri
L' Inferno (Dante's Inferno, 1911) / La Divine Comédie (The Divine Comedy, 2014)
The 750th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s birth was celebrated
world widely last year. As an epilog to the recent commemorations, as well as
an invitation to discuss the often overlooked cinematic works inspired by the Divine Comedy, International House in
Philadelphia and the Center for Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania
are proud to present this unmissable Dantean film program. The two selected
feature films span through film history’s temporal extremes and bring together
early cinema’s fascination for Dante’s afterworld imagery with the recent revival
in popularity the Comedy has been enjoying
within the contemporary new media landscape. The mesmerized astonishment,
provoked in the early 20th century audiences by the spectacular
grandeur and skilled craftsmanship involved in the production of the 1911 L’inferno, is renewed for contemporary viewers
through the sensorial and kinetic experience enhanced by the immersive
audiovisual landscape of Côté-Lapoint’s 2014 La divine comédie. Bearing witness to the everlasting appeal within
popular culture the Divine Comedy has
enjoyed throughout the 20th century and beyond, L’Inferno and La divine
comédie will take you on a journey through time, film history, and changing
Come spend Easter Sunday in paradise with Dante the
pilgrim and Dante the poet. The program will be introduced by Peter Lešnik.
Peter is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Italian
Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Besides the M.A. in Italian from the
University of Pennsylvania obtained in 2013, he earned a Bachelors and a
Masters from the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, where he graduated in 2010
with a dissertation on the rhetoric and poetics of David Lynch (Il sorriso
della Sfinge: enigmi ed enigmaticità nel cinema di David Lynch).
Peter has a broad range of academic interests,
including literature, cinema, art history, literary theory, and critical
theory. His main fields of concentration are modern and contemporary Italian
literature and World cinema. He has published articles on Italian 19th and 20th
century literature and holds a Graduate Certificate in Cinema Studies from the
University of Pennsylvania. He is presently writing his Ph.D. dissertation,
which focuses on the cinematic adaptations of Cesare Pavese’s literary work.
This event is free and open to the public
5pm: L' Inferno
(Dante's Inferno, 1911)
dirs. Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, Giuseppe de Liguoro , Italy, 1911, digital, 71 mins. b/w, silent w/musical accompaniment
The Italian epic came of age with Giuseppe de Liguoro‘s imaginative silent film of the Inferno. Loosely adapted from Dante Alighieri and inspired by the illustrations of Gustave Doré, L’Inferno was first screened in Naples in the Teatro Mercandante on the 10th of March 1911. The film took over three years to make and was the first full length Italian feature film ever made. Its success was not confined to Italy. It was an international hit taking more than $2 million in the United States alone.
7pm: La Divine
Comédie (The Divine Comedy)
dir. Simon Côté-Lapoint, Canada, 2014, HD digital, 62 mins. color
The poet Dante seeks to reunite with his immortal love Beatrice, who's in Paradise since her death. But before, he has to go through Hell and Purgatory, facing mythical beasts and historical figures along his surrealist path with the help of his guide Virgil, a fellow poet.
Adapted from the 14th century Italian classic, The Divine
Comedy is an oneiric musical trip without words, a thrilling experimental mix
of animation, video art and imagination.
Simon Côté-Lapointe is a pianist, keyboardist,
composer, improviser and videographer. Since 2010, he has devoted himself to
the creation of experimental music and video, creating more than twenty art
projects combining various video techniques. He received in 2011 a research
grant to create an audio-video exploratory work combining 2D and 3D animation,
video art and puppetry as well as electronic, electroacoustic and acoustic
More recently, he worked as film editor, director and
composer for multiple cinema and musical projects. He also worked on movie
trailers for some of the largest film distribution companies in Quebec.
In 2013, he completed a master's degree in information
science and became interested in the link between creation and audio-visual
archives. In 2014, he obtained another research grant to focus on the use of
archives as a basis for creation.