Longiano (Fo – Ita), April 18, 2009 – Teatro Petrella, 9 pm
Teatro Petrella Season
from “La Divina Commedia” by Dante Alighieri
directed by Francesco Bertolini e Adolfo Padovan
music by Edison Studio
live electronics Edison Studio
Mauro Cardi, Luigi Ceccarelli, Fabio Cifariello Ciardi, Alessandro Cipriani
Photography – Emilio Roncarolo, Screenplay – Sandro Properzi, Francesco Bertolini
actors – Salvatore Papa (Dante), Arturo Pirovano (Virgilio), Giuseppe De Liguoro (Farinata/Pier Delle Vigne/conte Ugolino), Attilio Motta, Emilio Beretta, A. Milla (Lucifero)
Hordes of bat-like demons wielding sharp pitchforks, legions of the white souls of the blessed floating in the sky, Paolo and Francesca who glide down from on high and remain suspended in mid-air, Bertrand de Born holding up his severed head and finally a gigantic fire-eating Lucifer who devours diaphanous and transparent cadavers. Adolfo Padovan , Francesco Bertolini and Giuseppe De Liguoro certainly spared no expense for their special effects. In 1911 these two pioneering directors filmed “Inferno”, the first true feature-film in the history of Italian cinema. It was an unprecedented colossal based on the text of the first episode of Dante’s Divine Comedy and the famous 19th century engravings by Gustav Dorè. 71 minutes in length, it took them 3 years of filming, 150 actors and extras, 100 sets, an investment of 300,000 liras and an advertising campaign that lasted for over a year. It also had a completely international distribution all over Europe and the United States, where the film made 2 million dollars at the box office. Having reinvented the soundtracks of “The Last Days of Pompeii” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” the four creators of the sound of Edison Studio have now produced a “perfect” soundtrack for the most visionary of all Italian silent movies.
The restoration of “Inferno” has been carried out by Cineteca del Comune di Bologna from a nitrate print preserved at BFI National Archive in London and from two safety duplicate negative held by Danske Film Institute in Copenhagen and Bulgarska Nacionalna Filmoteka in Sofia. Useful information has been also obtained from the copies preserved at Library of Congress in Washington, UCLA Film and Television Archive in Los Angeles, American Film Institute and Geaorge Eastman House in Rochester.