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THE NINTH CIRCLE

Yugoslavia, 1960 (MIFF 1961, Programme 8)

Director: France Stiglic

The theme of The Ninth Circle is the suffering of men who have been condemned to death only because they were born at the wrong time on the wrong meridian, and under a six-pointed star. It is concerned, too, with those who could never accept this monstrous idea and who have fought with all their strength against it. The title refers to Dante's conception of the "ninth circle of hell": Ivo is so in love with the Jewess, Ruth, that he follows her even through the gates of the concentration camp, Into the Ninth Circle.

This oft-treated theme can bear repetition when a film is made with such tact, talent and moderation. The sombre story manages to adroitly tell a tale of growing love and human consciousness. The bravura action at the end somewhat mars the impact, but the characters are well drawn and the film makes its point by astute observation and progression. At the Pula Film Festival where it received First Prize, director France Stiglic stated, "I was keenly interested in the screenplay. The Ninth Circle because of its deeply moving theme about the destiny of a young love in the middle of the rage of World War II. No doubt the human aspect of the idea of the story was that when appeared to me the most necessary to depict in the film as well as the possibility of a poetic treatment of a young love and the counterpoint of dark waves of inhumanity which was evident in the last war and created in our story the environment for the "ninth circle of hell"

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