It's easy to see what attracted Greenaway to Dante. Inferno, the first of the three books of The Divine Comedy - still the world's most complex account of the male menopause - teems with symbols, allusions, lists and numbers. Pre-empting the Renaissance, it is an omnium gatherum of history, science, animal behaviourism, cosmology and medicine. Collaborating with artist Phillips, Greenaway exploits state-of-the-art video techniques to lay image after image on top of each other, thus creating a picture that corresponds in depth of meaning, colour and excitement to that of the written text. Monologue, mud-wrestling and Muybridge animation are all part of the ordered mêlée. Peck is Dante, Gielgud is Virgil, and Whalley-Kilmer is Beatrice. Each of the eight cantos completed lasts 11 minutes, which is roughly equal to reading time, and is by turns horrifying, beautiful, creepy and fascinating. This is TV designed to be viewed over and over again: 'a pop person's think-video'.
A TV Dante: Cantos I–VIII
Cast and crew
|Director:||Peter Greenaway, Tom Phillips|