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Inferno is a remarkable film from 1911 based on the poem by Dante Alighieri. Directed by Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan and Giuseppe de Liguoro it was the first Italian feature film and features some striking images, spectacular for their time.

I have written a new soundtrack to the film inspired by the entrancing beauty of Gregorian Chant, music which resonates both with the images and the story. I have taken this music, and written some original material, to create a soundtrack which I believe remains true to the spirit of the poem and the film. The chants I am working with were written at, or before, the time of Dante, it is the music he would have known.

The planned screenings of the film will be accompanied with a live laptop performance of the soundtrack.

 

THE STORY

The poet Dante is lost in a dark and gloomy wood. At the summit of a mountain he sees the light of salvation. He endeavours to ascend to it, but his way is barred by three wild beasts, symbolizing Avarice, Pride and Lust.

Beatrice sees his predicament and descends from Paradise into Limbo, where she asks the poet Virgil to rescue and guide Dante. Virgil knows another way to go, but this leads straight through the entire Inferno, before it continues towards Paradise. Virgil leads Dante to the portals of Inferno. Charon ferries them over the river Acheron, and then they start their journey downwards through the different circles of Inferno.

Dante meets all kind of sinners and sees the never ending punishments they have to undergo. The various punishments are adjusted to the different transgressions. Among the sinners Dante recognizes many persons he has met in Florence, when they were still alive...

Written by Maths Jesperson

 

Inferno was first screened in Naples in the Teatro Mercadante on March 10, 1911. The film took over three years to make and was the first full-length Italian feature film ever made. The film was an international success, taking more than $2 million in the United States alone. It is considered by many scholars and fans as being the finest film adaptation of Dante's work to date.

According to "The People's Almanac Guide to the 20th Century", this is the first movie to show full frontal male nudity, well over half a century before it turned up again in Women In Love.

This was the first feature film to be shown in it's entirety, in one screening, in the USA. Prior to this it was thought audiences wouldn't be prepared to sit for over an hour to watch a feature, films such as Les MisÚrables and The Life of Moses were shown in episodic parts over the course of a month or two.