Pupi Avati: I’ll tell you about the dark sides of the young Dante Alighieri

from Valerio Cappelli

“This film is a dream that I have been chasing for twenty years, I hope that in such a difficult moment for cinema it will be seen by many people”. The protagonist is Alessandro Sperduti: “It reminds me of the TV series Strange things”



He wants to go beyond the crystallized image in learned pages and school memories. Movies inspired by the Divine Comedy there have been. But never one on the Poet. And here Dante by Pupi Avati (out on 29 for 01). She has been following him for 20 years. He has overcome “the sense of inadequacy that anyone should have for Dante, when we are transferred from the schools.” He remade a The Vita Nova “Which is a diary” to rediscover the man Dante, “even in his dark sides”.

The gimmick is Giovanni Boccaccio (Sergio Castellitto), who discovered poetry thanks to that first giant, and in 1350 was commissioned to bring ten gold florins as symbolic compensation to Sister Beatrice (Valeria D’Obici), daughter of Alighieri, a nun in Ravenna where the poet rests. It bears the same name as the woman he idealized (the actress is Carlotta Gamba), “whom in reality he barely knew”.

The heart of the film are the flashback with Dante. Boccaccio’s journey, from Florence to Ravenna, was also the journey made by Alighieri, stopping in the same convents and villages. The poet here is young, the director continues to see him like this, in that unfinished season, when we say “forever” and we are not in the middle of the journey of our life. Boccaccio says to his daughter: «If I think of your father, I can only imagine him as a boy».

Here he has the face of Alessandro Sperduti, a 35-year-old Roman, to whom they have placed two prostheses to increase the nose and jaw. “He was physically unpleasant, my beloved Carlo Delle Piane was Brad Pitt by comparison,” says the director. And the young protagonist of him: «Dante is a mysterious genius, ineffable also for his omniscience. At school he was scary, creepy, distant. I didn’t feel him close. Here I discovered his humanity of him, himself, his fragility, sensitivity, poverty, debts, dark sides, as Paolo Taviani pointed out to me after seeing him, because we don’t know if he killed when he went into battle. of the soldiers. And when, as prior, he has to decide whether to exile his friend Guido Cavalcanti or political ambition, he chooses exile ».

Then Dante lived it: «He aspired to return to Florence after the success of the Divine Comedy. She didn’t go like that. ‘ He likes the gothic side of the film (“it reminds me of the Strange Things TV series”) which is an aspect of Avati’s cinema: the shadows, the angular images … “I think of canto XIII of Hell with shrubs and Dante asks Virgil what should I do? Break one. Thus he discovers that he is a soul ».

It is no coincidence that the verse he loves the most is the final one of the Sonnet So kind and so honest it seems … What goes saying to the soul: sighs ».

It played a role in Heaven with Cate Blanchett and in The meadows will return by Ermanno Olmi; she has been acting since she was 9, fantasy and fairy tale TV miniseries. But this is his first role with the bite.

He read Sermonti, listened to Vittorio Gassman and Benigni, the documentaries, “then I forgot everything so as not to be suffocated”.

The characters of the Poem are spokespersons who allude to someone or something, it is a journey that evokes the earthly life of the souls who meet, “for me you go among the lost people”. Hell attracts, Purgatory is the waiting place for happiness, almost, Heaven intimidates. And the actors, Alessandro, where do we put them? «Difficult question … In seducers, seduction can also be negative, but the rounds could be many». Why is the Comedy Divine? «It touches man and the eternal, matter and the intangible». And Castellitto: “It is the only poem left as a word, to know it you had to read it” ..

“In my films – says Pupi Avati – I have told how heroic the normality of living beings can be, now I try to say that, however sublime, genius shares anguish like each of us”. He mixed Italian with some “smudges” of the time, with the verses of Dante, who knew and remembered the names of all the stars. «He was relegated in a too fire-fighting, militant and not very human way to the 700th anniversary of his death. I hope that in such a difficult moment in Italian cinema, this film that claims to be ambitious will be seen by many people ». In the soundtrack he uses, rearranging it, the Adagio from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, which was almost a character in My Africa with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, and here he enters Our Italy.

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September 21, 2022 (change September 21, 2022 | 20:41)

Pupi Avati: I’ll tell you about the dark sides of the young Dante Alighieri