Director: Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan and Giuseppe de Liguoro
Year Released: 1911
The first Italian feature-length silent film is an adaptation of the great poet Dante Alighieri's Inferno (from The Divine Comedy) where Dante himself is escorted by Virgil through the various circles of hell, leading all the way down to Lucifer himself snacking on bodies. For being as old as it is it's surprisingly well-made and fluid, with some memorably creepy sets where bodies are buried but the actors' heads (or legs) are visible (and presumably screaming) and demons float around with pitchforks. You don't need to be a Catholic - all that Guilt! - to appreciate the insinuation that those who have done wrong on Earth may pay for it at some point, although let's be honest: none of us are angels, and maybe a healthy slap in the face would suffice. The restoration's soundtrack is by Edgar Froese and Jerome Froese (of Tangerine Dream) but that's atrocious - my viewing suggestion is to sync up metal band Sunn O)))'s 2005 album Black One - it's about as long as the feature (68 minutes) - and listen to that instead: you'll be surprised at how well they go together.