Peter Greenaway and Tom Philips won the Prix Italia for A TV Dante, their ambitious project to produce a video version Dantes Inferno. Greenaway was first inspired by artist Tom Phillips illustrated translation of the work and they collaborated on this, the first eight Cantos of the work, using all the state-of-the-art technological resources available to the electronic media at the time. The eight Cantos of the film are not conventionally dramatised, rather they are illuminated with layered and juxtaposed imagery and a soundtrack which comments, counterpoints and clarifies. There are visual footnotes delivered by relevant expert authorities, and these often perform the function of narration as well as illustration. The result is a dazzling video journey through Dante’s underworld. The press was unanimous in welcoming their bold new approach to the art of television when A TV Dante was transmitted on Channel 4 in 1990: That rare and beautiful thing, an attempt to do something new with the medium. (The Observer) Nothing quite like it has been seen on television before. The extraordinary, multi-layered images on the screen are not so much state-of-the-art video but the state after that. (The Times) A dazzling and inventive piece of video-image making…an eye-stitching use of television. (The Guardian)
BONUS FILM M is for Man, Music, Mozart
Using advanced video postproduction techniques of its day, this music theatre film is set in a 16th century anatomy theatre. With visual references to Hogarth, Vesalius and Arcimboldo, it explores the mysteries of the central letter of the alphabet: M, and the creation of man, music and Mozart. This incarnation of man and Mozart is taken by dancer Ben Craft, with apocryphal texts by Vesalius, Schultz and Eisenstein sung by jazz singer Astrid Seriese, to Andriessen s powerful jazz/funk music performed by the Dutch ensemble, De Volharding.
Music by Louis Andriessen
Written and Directed by Peter Greenaway