The movies of Emiliano Dante and the precariousness of existence

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Emiliano Dante was born in L’Aquila in 1974. He is professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Cassino and at the University of L’Aquila. He also directed the Abruzzo Documentary Festival in Pescara. Before starting to make films, he became interested in other arts such as photography, music, writing and theater. From 2003 to 2005 he made The Home Sequence Series, a series of experimental short films in which he films the places of his own home. 

Into the Blue

In 2009 he documents his experience in the post-earthquake tent city of L’Aquila with the documentary Into the blue, presented in competition at the Torino Film Festival. Emiliano, Valentina, Paolo, Elisabetta and Stefano live in the tent city of the city of L’Aquila after the disastrous earthquake of April 6, 2009. They are artists, aspiring musicians, actors. Despite the situation and the exploitation of the media would like to continue to live their lives peacefully, to try to achieve their goals. 

As often happens in emergencies events unite people who lived apart. The experience in the tent city unites their lives that were previously divided by the walls and apartments of the old city. Into the blue is a film in which director Emiliano Dante transforms his experience as an earthquake victim into moments of inspired creativity. An optimistic docu-fiction that looks to the future. 

Limen

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In 2013 he presented the filmin some festivals Limen (Omission), after a 6-year production. An experimental thriller, difficult to classify in a genre, with stratified and ambiguous meanings. It is not an easy to understand film. The visual and sound style, full of sudden ignitions and disturbing sound inserts, is reminiscent of the cinema of Chris Marker and David Lynch. 

Limen is shot in black and white, with shots that suddenly light up red as the protagonist sinks into his inner abyss. It is a film that goes in search of new horizons of cinematographic language, very far from the standard codes of commercial cinema that today’s audiences like so much. Limen won the young jury prize at the Trento Film Festival in 2013. 

Watch Limen


Habitat

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At the end of 2014 he completed his second film on the L’Aquila earthquake experience. It is called Habitat – Personal notes and is presented at the Torino Film Festival. Habitat tells of the inner crisis of some people due to the earthquake and the forced relocation to prefabricated buildings outside the city. 

This is by no means a documentary in its classic sense. It is the narration of the evolution of the consciences of a group of friends who are forced to change. The protagonist and narrator is Emiliano Dante himself. Emiliano Dante director who films Emiliano Dante who lives. While the places of the Apennines are transformed by the earthquake and by Berlusconi’s politics, the lives of Dante and his friends are also forced to transform. 

From the historic center of the ancient city of L’Aquila to prefabricated houses that seem to be made of plastic, all the same. Houses through which Berlusconi promises a new life to the people of L’Aquila. The prime minister takes advantage of this to make political propaganda, describing the housing units in a kind of real estate teleshopping. 

The loss of roots and the sense of precariousness caused by the earthquake seem not to be the direct cause of a natural catastrophe, but the lifestyle of an entire nation. Like in the movie Crazy world of another independent director who uses cinema as a total author, Fabio Del Greco

A sense of precariousness and instability generated by a consumerist lifestyle without solid foundations that seems to be the dominant theme of an entire generation of independent directors, the one born in the 70s and early 80s. Which is that of Dante, Del Greco, Luca Ferri. A theme less present in mainstream cinema.

Authors of a radical independent cinema about characters who have completely lost their identity. As in the avant-garde film Abacuc, because they are part of a social fabric that is now non-existent. Habitat by Emiliano Dante seems to remind us that, for better or for worse, we are not separate entities but we are part of the whole. 

Watch Habitat – Personal notes


Appennines

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In 2017 he made Appennines, a documentary film that continues a deep path of reflection and introspection on post-earthquake life. The film is a real intimate diary that begins with the reconstruction of the destroyed city, and continues with a second earthquake in neighboring areas. It continues with the life in the hotel of the people who have lost their homes. Appennino is a mirror in which the director Emiliano Dante looks at himself with total authenticity. More than a film it is a fascinating one personal growth tool through cinema. 

The earthquake becomes for Emiliano Dante a manifestation of the power of nature that shuffles and transforms the destinies of men. Abruzzo, in particular the city of L’Aquila and its province, is a region where the population has always had to deal with a difficult environment. Rugged and harsh places since the time of the writer of the novel Fontamara, by Ignazio Silone, where the peasants of Marsica have to fight even for water. 

The spirit with which the populations of the Apennines coexist with the possibility of natural disasters recalls the philosophy of the citizens of Stromboli. The volcano is like a God who decides the destinies of men. Accept the possibility of a natural disaster as a grand superior design. A drawing which, however, in Emiliano Dante’s film does not reveal itself as Evil, but simply as an event of transformation. The film was selected in several important festivals such as Turin, Annecy, Istanbul. 

Watch Appennines


Emiliano Dante is also a photographer, some of his solo exhibitions have been organized in Europe and Latin America. The vision of independent cinema by Emiliano Dante and that of a total author, the only creator of the work. He is a writer, director, actor, musician, and in some cases even creator of the animations of his films. With the exception of Limen, which is a fictional film, Emiliano Dante uses cinema to reflect on his life and on the transformations of the society that surrounds him. 

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