- Dante 01
Dante 01 Directed by Marc Caro Produced by Richard Grandpierre Written by Marc Caro
Starring Lambert Wilson
Music by Raphael Elig
Cinematography Jean Poisson Editing by Linda Attab
Release date(s) France: January 2, 2008 Running time 88 min. Country France Language French Budget €8,000,000
Dante 01 is a science fiction film by French director Marc Caro. It is the first solo directing effort by Caro, who is well-known for his directing collaborations with Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The film was released in 2008.
Deep in space, above a fiery prison planet named Dante, Dante 01, a scientific space station orbits the planet. Its inhabitants include two security guards, two scientists and six prisoners whose crimes were so severe that they volunteered to live under experimentation rather than face death penalties.
One day, a shuttle arrives with a new scientist named Elisa. Her passenger is a man of unknown origins, who wakes up severely disoriented, unable to speak, and often falls into blank stares at what he sees as a bright, shimmering light. He seems to be aware of his surroundings, though, but is unable — or unwilling — to interact with them for the most part. He is introduced to the prisoners: their leader César, his right hand man Lazare, the large Moloch, the socially reclusive Bouddha, Raspoutine, a religious man who believes in repentance with God and the only one who sides with Saint George in the beginning, and Attila, a computer hacker. Raspoutine claims that the new one was sent by God to save the lot of them, calling him "Saint George, the Dragonslayer", because of a tattoo "George" has.
Elisa and the station's head researcher, Perséphone, have an at-odds approach to Elisa's new nanotechnology experiments to the proven methods from Perséphone. Meanwhile, the strange arrival prompts the station's commander Charon to work with Attila in hacking into Elisa's files and finding out what she is really there for. Much to Attila's horror, her experiments authorize her to kill all of them for the sake of the research.
Meanwhile, Bouddha's self-righteous killing pattern takes effect when he sees George in great pain, and attempts to strangle him in order to alleviate his suffering. This leads to infighting amongst the other prisoners, and the wardens use gas to knock them out. Bouddha becomes Elisa's first experiment, injecting him with nanotechnology and returning him to the prison hold. His own unbearable pain from the nanites bonding with his DNA summons George, who is somehow able to remove it from him (George is seen removing some kind of abstract energy creature from Bouddha and eating it; he does the same later with Moloch and César) and he becomes well again. He then becomes as convinced as Raspoutine that Saint George is a miracle worker and befriends him, swearing to protect George from any other. Moloch attempts to attack George, and in the fight, he pulls a knife, and Raspoutine's struggle with him causes Moloch to accidentally slit his own throat. The gas pours in to knock the group out, but not before George runs over to assist Moloch in his death throes. The prison guards discover, to their amazement, that Moloch has no wound on his throat, and is alive and well, although unconscious. On their way out they inject César with the nanotechnology as they did for Bouddha and depart.
Perséphone's assumption that George is a miracle worker is scoffed at by Elisa, but Moloch's doubts prompt César to await an impending usurping of his authority, and he plots to get rid of George. However, his sudden bouts of pain and illness from the nanotechnology render him unable to take care of George himself, and Lazare and Moloch are sent in his stead. Meanwhile, Charon is contacted by Attila and learns that he has locked all of the main computer systems out to put a futile resistance to their eventual sacrifice. As Bouddha and Raspoutine are distracted, George is attacked by Lazare, and stabbed several times in the chest and abdomen. While they are experimenting on George's corpse, Perséphone has doubts of Elisa's methods, but her authority is overruled by Elisa and Charon. Before Elisa can continue with her experiments, George, who is supposedly dead, wakes up completely healed, grabs Elisa and uses her as a hostage to reach the prison quarters before releasing her. César is in severe pain from the nanomachines, and George cures him. Attila appears and tells the others of his plans to destroy them all out of spite, making the space station crash into Dante. Objecting to this, the prisoners subdue Attila while George attempts to cure him, but Attila manages to break free and runs away. César and his crew attempt to catch Attila; they eventually find him, only to see that he has hanged himself. With Attila dead, their plans of stopping the station's decaying orbit require the scientific personnel and the prisoners to work together, since the mechanism necessary to stop the decaying orbit is located under a trapdoor below the quarters of the prisoners. They agree, and while Charon and Perséphone lead the security to the prisoner's area, they leave Elisa alone to man the controls. As the station inhabitants work to open the hatch to the manual control unit, the gas goes off, knocking out the lot of them. Elisa preps and attempts to escape via shuttle, but Lazare, who had learned through controlled breathing how to hold his breath during gas emission, forces her into letting him escape with her. As the others awaken, one of the guards goes to check on the shuttle, and finds that as part of his meddling, Attila had also locked the shuttle controls — as a result, Elisa and Lazare are killed when the shuttle crash lands on the planet below.
Opening the panel, the group finds that the hatch to the override room is filled to the top with boiling water. César realizes he is the only one who can properly fit into the little space, and is wrapped in some protective fabrics, covered with cold water and jumps in. He loses his protective goggles on the short trip, and emerges on the other side horribly burned, shouting in extreme agony, and dies in the compartment before entering the six digit code necessary to reset the control computer. Though dead, he indirectly managed to enable their escape from the planet's orbit: in a strange epilogue, Saint George emerges from the station in a space suit and floats above the planet on thin air — he could not save the station, so he changed the context, suddenly using the full extent of his strange and inexplicable powers (while doing this, it is seen that the strange "creatures" he extracted from the others are now existing inside him) to terraform Dante into a livable planet, while his body disintegrated in space as a result.
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