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June 05, 2012

Summer Heats Up at the Getty with Dante's Inferno Film Series

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center
Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24, 2012


MEDIA CONTACT:                 

Alexandria Sivak
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6473 

Still from Dante’s Inferno (2007). © Dante Film, LLC.

LOS ANGELES—This summer, the Getty will turn up the heat with three films that portray the hellish underworld of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. Two of the films will be screened on 35mm film, and will also include live musical accompaniment by composer Michael Mortilla. The film series complements the exhibition Heaven, Hell, and Dying Well: Images of Death in the Middle Ages, on view through August 12, 2012.

The series will focus on three interpretations of Inferno, one of three parts that make up Dante’s epic poem. Written between 1300 and 1321, the first fully illustrated version of the poem was created in 1487. Since then, illustrators, painters, and (finally) filmmakers have been continually drawn to interpret the "nine circles of hell." The films being screened include the fairly literal, yet cinematically momentous interpretation of L'Inferno (1911); the gritty social(ist) commentary of Dante's Inferno (1924); and the live-action puppetry and postmodern renderings of Dante's Inferno (2007).

“This is an excellent opportunity for visitors to view these films, some of which are extremely rare,” explains Laurel Kishi, public programs manager at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Many people are united by their fascination with hell, and Inferno offers one of the most memorable and vivid interpretations ever written. These three films provide a visual accompaniment to Dante’s already powerful poetry.”

Film screenings will be held at the Getty Center’s Harold M. Williams Auditorium. Events are free, but reservations are required. Call (310) 440-7300 or visit for additional information and to reserve seats.


Dante’s Inferno Film Schedule:


Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Time: 3:00 p.m.

Directed by Giuseppe de Liguoro
(Italy, 1911, 35mm, 71 min.)

Eye 4 Films. © L'Inferno Ltd

The first Italian "epic," loosely inspired by Dante's poem and Gustave Doré's illustrations, could be considered one of the first international blockbusters. This very rare tinted 35mm print is courtesy of the British Film Institute. Silent with live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

Dante's Inferno

Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Directed by Sean Meredith
(USA, 2007, HDCAM, 88 min.)

© Dante Film, LLC.

Nearly one hundred years after Giuseppe de Liguoro created his L'Inferno, Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk paired up with writer Marcus Sanders to create an exquisite book based on Dante's Inferno. The publication is inspired by engravings by Gustave Doré, the great French illustrator. Director Sean Meredith and a team of artists led by Birk worked for five years to animate the work. Dante's masterpiece is interpreted using exquisitely hand-drawn puppets and handmade special effects, set in a post-apocalyptic urban universe. Featuring the voices of James Cromwell, Dermot Mulroney, and Martha Plimpton.

Dante's Inferno
Date: Sunday, June 24, 2012
Time: 3:00 p.m.

Directed by Henry Otto
(USA, 1924, 35mm, 55 min.)

Fox/Photofest. © Fox

Don’t miss this rare chance to see a fairly unknown film that has been meticulously preserved by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Dante's Inferno is modernized and presented as a parable and moral tale. Set in a pre-Depression urban landscape and channeling a bit of Dickens as well as Dante, the film foretells what will happen to a greedy landlord if he doesn't reform. Silent with live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. Preserved by the Museum of Modern Art with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Film Foundation.

About Michael Mortilla

Composer and sound designer Michael Mortilla is well known for his silent film scores. He works extensively with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and has received numerous commissions from them scoring restored silent films including The Gaucho, Upstream, Humoresque, and The White Shadow. Michael also scores works for TV, radio, and the concert stage and continues to work in dance and theater as well as in commercial and promotional productions.


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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum's mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.

Visiting the Getty Center
From June 1–September 21, 2012, the Getty Center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and for evening events throughout the week. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.

Additional information is available at

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