Live soundtrack by Letizia Renzini
Inferno, produced by Milano film production company in 1911, is the first “kolossal” of the great Italian cinematography. The plastic iconography of Dante Alighieri’s poetry merges with Gustave Doré’s historical illustrations to create a rich tapestry, a visual structure which works like a sequence of animated tableaux. Inferno is in fact the first European film that combines the ‘cinema of attractions’ (filmic and theatrical special effects pioneered by French director Méliès and his peers) with the literary and artistic experimentations of the following years (i.e. the ‘film d’Art’). The result is a visionary artwork where, for the first time, written captions are put to use. Ech scene is introduced by the most famous verses of il Poeta, or by an explanatory sentence written in prose. Inferno is to be considered a true masterpiece of costume drama, a genre which will win much praise to the Italian cinema producers in the following ten years. In this new version, the restoration and actualization of the sound(scape? track?) brings back the visionary and alienating power of the film, thus reclaiming its rightful spot as a true Classic of early Italian cinematography
The live soundtrack conceived, composed and executed by Letizia Renzini underlines the visionary power of the film triggering a re-enactment of Dante’s collective unconscious. This effect is produced through two parallel tracks: on the one hand, Foley Sound’s alienating interventions (technique for film sound, in this case executed with the morphing technique) bind the soundtrack to the images, while, on the other hand, live sound composition (which mixes samples with electronic and acoustic materials) increases the intensity and restores the complexity of the original cinematic vision. Voices, whispers, screams, noises of devils, the damned and the travelling protagonists (Dante and Virgil), excerpts of the immortal rendition of Dante by actor Carmelo Bene; all elements emerge transformed and processed, dragging the viewer into the meanders of allegory.
Inferno (1911) by Francesco Bertolini, Giuseppe de Liguorio, Adolfo Padovan
Concept, Composition, Live Mix Letizia Renzini
Sound Design Niccolò Gallio
Production Fondazione Sistema Toscana, Alfea Cinematografica, Ingrate ETS
In collaborazione con Cineteca di Bologna