Dante the film: the life of the Supreme Poet told in the cinema

Dante, the film that tells the story of the famous author of the Divine Comedy, is available in Italian cinemas from 29 September. The film, directed by Pupi Avati, retraces the main stages in the life of Dante Aligheri through his most famous sonnets.

Dante the film: plot

Inspired by the Treatise in laude by Danteby Giovanni Boccaccio, the film tells the life of the father of the Italian language as it was reconstructed, in fact, by Boccaccio.

Thirty years after the death of the Supreme, Giovanni Boccaccio (played by Sergio Castellitto) is charged with bringing ten gold florins to Sister Beatrice, the last surviving daughter of Dante Aligheri. The money is compensation for the unjust exile to which he was sentenced along with his children. Moved by a profound admiration for the Poet, during the journey Boccaccio tries to reconstruct his story, which is shown to the viewer through a series of flashbacks.

So let’s follow the story of a young Dante (Alessandro Sperduti) since his first meeting with Beatrice (Carlotta Gamba). We witness her untimely death, the troubled friendship with Guido Cavalcanti (Romano Reggiani) and finally we follow him in the painful vicissitudes of exile, during which he will devote himself to writing the Comedy. The images are accompanied by some of Aligheri’s most famous verses, which the expert viewer will recognize instantly.

A film for connoisseurs

This detail, together with the rhythm of the film, which alternates flashbacks with current events in a deliberately chaotic succession, makes it immediately clear what the target of the film is. The film is aimed at those who already know the life and works of Dante Aligheri well, to literate enthusiasts who will be thrilled to recognize on the screen what they have studied in books. The poet’s life is not narrated in a linear way, from birth to death, as would happen in a normal biographical film. Only some significant stages are retraced, leaving the viewer with the task of filling in the gaps with his own knowledge.

On the other hand, the film stages events and emotions that can be understood but not deepened on the school texts, an element that makes it more exciting and enriching than a classic biography. As Pupi Avati stated, in fact, his intention was to “Rediscover the man Dante, even in his dark sides”.

A historical horror film

Although faithful to historical events, the direction of Pupi Avati permeates the film with a gothic atmosphere, at times even horror, which makes Dante’s Middle Ages dark and disturbing. Some scenes even result in splatter, a detail that could upset the viewer in search of an educational film.

Death is a constant presence in the film, since the death of his mother, to whom little Dante is forced to attend, passing through the very premature ones of his beloved Beatrice and his friend Guido Cavalcanti. Sad and macabre suggestions that certainly influenced Dante’s poetics, and that in the same way tinge the film with that restlessness that Pupi Avati knows how to suggest with skill.

Chiara Genovese

Dante the film: the life of the Supreme Poet told in the cinema