• film

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)

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Sunday 3/27
5:00 pm
FREE Please RSVP if you plan to attend

FOR FILMS AND EVENTS PRESENTED BY IHP, Tickets ARE Also Available From the IHP Box Office, which is normally open Tue-Sat from noon-8pm (or, for events outside of those times, from one hour before until one hour after the scheduled starting time).  
call 215.895.6590. 

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 viewing experiences.

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 music.

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.