The Old Testament of Dante

Theodoor Steen

In the last week of September, during the opening of the Joe Dante retrospective at the Slovenska Kinoteka, there was a rare opportunity to see Dante’s debut The Movie Orgy (Joe Dante, Jon Davison, 1968) on European soil. The film is, bluntly said, a collection of rare movie and television excerpts selected by Dante and Davison and edited in such a way that fragments relate to each other. The found footage spirit of The Movie Orgy becomes especially Dante-esque through the selection and editing process: the choices shine light on the peculiar tastes of the director, while the editing itself is an early showcase of Dante’s knack for comedic timing. The Movie Orgy becomes more than just a sampling of excerpts, it becomes a key to understanding the author’s origins: how he works, where he came from and why certain themes will keep reappearing in his oeuvre, as he himself acknowledges . The Movie Orgy puts Dante’s work into sharp focus: it is the Old Testament of Dante.

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