S Y N O P S I S
In Dante’s Divine Comedy there are two characters. In the film they are performed and choreographed by two extraordinary dancers: Hannah Rudd, Beatrice – Divine Knowledge, and Miguel Altunaga Virgil – Human Reason.
Virgil and Beatrice are Dante’s guides through Hell and Purgatory, the two dancers are our ‘guides’ in the film. Choreographically we explored themes of Desire, Unrequited Love, Memory, Death and Loss and examined the movement through the eyes of Virgil and Beatrice. How they see each other and how they see themselves is part of the story. Dante Sonata is collaboration that came about by chance through a meeting between Margaret and Executive Producer Sally Sparrow.
Russian pianist Arina Lazgiian was completing her studies at the Royal College of Music. She had been awarded the Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship at the college. The Philip Loubser Foundation gives the award to an outstanding pianist in support of their studies and preparation for an international career.
As part of Arina’s Fellowship award she had an opportunity complete a project to launch her international career as a concert pianist. Drawing inspiration form her Mother, who was a ballet dancer in Moscow, Ariana’s desire was to make a dance film to solo music.
When asked why she chose Liszt’s Dante Sonata, Arina replied, “It is very beautiful, temperamental and romantic music and it would provide contrast and passion for a beguiling choreography”.
F E S T I V A L W I N N E R
Dante Sonata selected as a winner at the R.E.D. International Film Festival 2021 in Eina, Norway.
What the Jurors said:
‘It’s an impressive film. It shows a composition where music and sound struggle powerfully alive together with images and choreography integrated into the filming, either as just sound, or also where the piano playing is filmed…The strength of classical music, design language, layers of staging and choreography all combined to a great Dance Film.’
Rose Tremain, writer
‘Perhaps the nearest I can get to Margaret Williams’ vision for her film Dante Sonata is to call it ‘wildness speaking through aesthetic simplicity’. I always love her work for the surprises she springs. Strange and beautiful to go from snake-like bodies, dappled with piano notes, stops and strings, exploring the texture of objects and flesh to a harsh entrapping world where no doors open, and then to a lyrical phase of mutual tenderness, then back to something subterranean and confining. The blown leaves towards the end speak of the fleeting quality of life’s dance, of bodies separated, with vertiginous spaces all around them. I also liked ending on the virtuoso pianist in wonderful sympathetic rage with the music. The dancers are lovely. I really liked the physical contrast between them. And what marvellous grace! How long does it take, I wonder, to be able to bring your foot level with your head with effortless ease?’
C R E D I T S
choreographers & dancers
director of photography
MARCO VAN WELZEN
MJW PRODUCTIONS in association with
Royal College of Music
Supported by the
Philip Loubser Foundation