email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on reddit pin on Pinterest


Dante 01’s sci-fi inferno


Dante 01’s sci-fi inferno

Over ten years after co-directing Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children with Jean-Pierre Jeunet, French filmmaker Marc Caro went back behind the camera for the sci-fi Dante 01 [+see also:
film profile
. On release in Italy on July 25 (by Videa-CDE on 40 screens), the film offers a re-interpretation at the first cantica of the Divine Comedy, setting three circles of Dante’s Inferno in a futuristic, orbiting psychiatric hospital.

“For me, every film is an inferno,” joked Caro (who co-wrote the film with Pierre Bordage) at the film’s Italian press screening. In the past, the director had to renounce numerous overly expensive projects, opting instead for a film “with few characters and shot entirely in interiors”.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

The budget was not that of a blockbuster, either. “Barely €4.5 million,” said Caro, “so I had to make a virtue of necessity. I had thought of the space base, for example, as circular, but then it turned into the form of a cross. Ultimately, however, this was a good thing. My main character isn’t a space cowboy but a religious hero, a kind of Christ”.

He is played by the Messianic Lambert Wilson, his head shaved like the other prisoners, all with evocative names: Lazare, Moloch, Rasputin. “They each represent a sin,” explained Caro. “They contribute to creating a symbolic universe,” said the director, fully aware that “sci-fi often leads to metaphysics.” The sci-fi here is strictly adult, like the films after which Dante 01 was modelled: “especially 2001, as well as THX 1138 and Solaris,” he said.

Not surprisingly, “between Lumière’s realism and Méliès’ fantasy, I have always chosen, not without some masochism, the latter path, the same one Cocteau chose”, added Caro, who made his debut (in well-known Italian magazine Frigidaire) as a comics illustrator, and took inspiration for the visual aspects of Dante 01 from the anime films of Satoshi Kon and Katsuhiro Otomo.

The immediate future of this “Taoist-punk” filmmaker holds a screenplay (commissioned by Jean-Pierre Jeunet) that is much less dark than Dante 01, however. “It’s an entertaining story, a mix of Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati,” said the filmmaker, without wanting to give too much away.

(Translated from Italian)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.