I saw Dante 01 with Kebbish yesterday. The film was mind-blowing, something in the vein of Riddick meeting Muad'dib under the gentle guidance of Kubrick. The script would've made a top-notch scifi novella on it's own but director Marc Caro pushed it even further. Kudos for this. Additionally, the multiple references to classical literature and the detached narration from Perséphone really made my day.
As a downside the narrative flow stumbles somewhat towards the end, resorting to a slight deus ex machina by a very flat character. Also, the film is divided into four segments, labeled "Cercle 1" to "Cercle 4", obviously alluding to Dante's Divine Comedy, but the Divine Comedy relates of nine circles of hell. This and the Space Odyssey 2001-esque ending might point towards truncating the script? My sentiment here is echoed by http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487928/board/nest/94052306, though I don't agree with the writer's view of the ending. The film is a very compelling whole however, so the non-classical story arc might very well be intentional.
The setting is space station Dante 01 in orbit around a fiery planet named Dante. The station is a mental asylum/prison/test center that houses criminals who have agreed to submit to medical experiments in order to evade a death sentence. The movie begins with a shuttle bringing a new doctor sent by the company running the station and a new inmate (the protagonist, soon christened Saint George by the other inmates).
The movie seems to be an allegory for a new scientific and social awakening of humankind. The medical company running the station injects an experimental DNA-altering nanovirus into the inmates and seemingly expects everybody to die (weapons research?). It also seems that the company is aware of the strange gift of healing that the protagonist has, and is seeking to commercially exploit it. As usual, the good prevail and the new doctor and an opportunistic inmate are the only ones to perish. Even the inmate who dies while trying to save the station from crashing into Dante is resuscitated by the protagonist. This lack of death nicely contrasts the harsh dystopian future and the grim visual language of the film.
In a psychedelic ending Saint George exits the station in a space suit and decomposes into a double helix (DNA anyone?) that rushes towards Dante. The planet turns green and Saint George has "beaten the dragon". Technology has been turned towards general progress instead of commercial gain. The collaboration of the crew and inmates points towards the need for a different kind of society, one that doesn't force human beings into cold robots with the hand of "established procedure".
Updated 15:50: minor changes, grammar
Updated 19:10: more on patchiness