Ian Thomson 16 February 2019 9:00 AM 16 February 2019 9:00 AM Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Email Whatsapp Believing in Film: Christianity and Classic European Cinema Mark Le FanuI.B. Tauris, pp.274, £72 The Italian film director Federico Fellini was not known for his piety (far from it), yet towards the end of his life in around 1990 he determined to film Dante’s Inferno for national television. The brimstone poem appealed to Fellini for its comico-grotesque scenes of mass writhing human nudity amid firecracker detonations. He was not the first filmmaker to take on the work of the medieval Florentine poet. In the early 1970s, Fellini’s compatriot Franco Zeffirelli persuaded Dustin Hoffman to star as Dante Alighieri in his own version of the Inferno. Hoffman, dressed in a medieval coif hat and Tootsie-red robe, was supposed to wander through a sulphurous underworld accompanied by the Latin poet Virgil. Nothing came of either Zeffirelli’s or Fellini’s Inferno. For both directors, though, Dante was the pre-eminent writer of pre-Reformation Europe, whose three-part journey through hell, purgatory and paradise, The Divine Comedy, combined a Christian vision of redemption with classical Latin erudition. In this superb cultural history, Mark Le Fanu considers the religious impulse… Read full this story
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