A passionate and vital film, in which the sublime of poetry mixes with the carnality of medieval life, and in which Avati pours, intertwined in a surprising way, the two souls of his cinema. The result is that of the Dantesque portrait that you do not expect: fortunately.
It often happens that the more a film is chased by its author, and therefore the more a director hatches for years the desire to realize a certain project, fighting against the passing of time and the productions that are not convinced, the more the final result is in some way. crushed by the long rumination of the construction process, and by expectations. Both those of the director and those of the public.
Dantethat Pupi Avati he tried to bring to the cinema for twenty years, and now he has finally succeeded, instead it is not a film that has fallen victim to itself, in some way. Perhaps, also, because expectations, at least those of the viewer, completely displace them.
This is not to say that Dante is a film devoid of defects, and of some small or great naivety, but it means that the passion and energy that Avati put into the film and the characters he tells are so clear, and so warm, that they infuse the whole with life and, above all, personality. Which, as we all know, is that thing that often overshadows shortcomings and defects.
There’s a Giovanni Boccaccio which acts as Virgil in the Dante’s world for us who watch it on the screen. A Boccaccio than against Dante he has an almost mystical and religious devotion, and whose emotion is engaging. Her journey to the poet’s daughter, in Ravenna, to deliver her a bag of coins that the city of Florence offers her as a miserable and belated compensation for the unjust exile imposed on her father, is, step by step, the opportunity for flashbacks. that tell us an Alighieri far removed from the classical profile imposed by the school, the academy, the popular abstraction.
That of Avati is a young Dante, restless, uncertain and passionatewhich to a romanticism certainly a bit languid but by no means spineless or eros, a romanticism almost reminiscent of certain Avatian characters of the past, such as those played by a Nick Twentieth Century that we do not find it hard to imagine in this part, alongside almost unprecedented war and political ambitions, certainly little known.
A Dante man, even before being a sublime poet, of whom Avati tries to restore this splendid duality with a style that includes both aspects. Hell and Heaven, one might say.
Dante is a film in which Beatrice she is far from just an angelic woman, but a magnetic and perturbing, sensual and provocative figure; where the bodily functions are often staged without sham, and not only for historical coherence; in which the gothic taste of Avati meanders diabolically, embodying itself now in a disquieting doll, now in the dungeons where the nameless plague dead are stored. Dante it is a film where Avati’s two directorial souls, the romantic-nostalgic one and the gothic and even horrifying one, walk hand in hand, intertwining in a coherent and at times surprising way. Perhaps unsettling, but certainly engaging.
And besides betraying the passion and desire to pour “all his cinema” into Dante, that of Avati it is a film that denounces, without pedantry or arrogant ostentation, the dedication, the effort, the practice of a cultured, patient and passionate research. A research that does not concern only Dante’s biography, or his literary work, but the painting, architecture, customs and politics of that era.
Which also translates into the care with which the splendid locations, or the actors of the film, were chosen, which in addition to Castellittoand to young people Alessandro Sperduti And Carlotta Gamba (we will hear about her for a long time), includes names as unusual and refined as those of Erica Blac, Leopoldo Mastelloni, Mariano Rigillo and that Gianni Cavina to whose memory the film is dedicated.