Analysis: Polanski’s “The Ninth Gate”

Based on a plot-line of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s novel, El Club Dumas, this film by Roman Polanski is often perceived as nothing more than a sexy horror-mystery with a disappointing ending. Marketed as a Gothic Thriller, critics have characterized it as a “satanic” thriller that failed to pack a punch. Some analysts having a supernatural interest imagine the screenplay’s plot as an attempt by Polanski to reveal an occult truth connected to the tarot, which is rooted in Kabbalah. No such attempt is convincing, and Polanski himself has supplied no encouragement, preferring instead to steer curious minds away from the idea that there is a serious side to the story. 

PluribusOne™ has identified that which the intuitive sense of many viewers and analysts detected. A message is conveyed by the film, although the story does not quite align with any conventional Judeo-Christian or neo-pagan “orthodoxy.” The inclusion of the lead character’s purchase of a rare copy of Don Quixote early in the opening scene provides a huge clue. That written work of fiction within Polanski’s work of fiction sets the viewer up to perceive their “real world” as another fictional realm filled with malleable illusions. To a substantial degree, we think Polanski, who has called himself a nonbeliever type of person, has enjoyed the fact that viewers have sought in vain to ground the tale within a familiar paradigm. Consciously or unconsciously, they ask: What is the moral of this story, and is there any historical or religious insight to be gained? 

We think it is time for The Ninth Gate to be recognized for what it is: an introduction to Catharism that also alludes to an alternative view of history and to the unveiling of a real world seduced and dominated by cold-blooded power. There are many indications, including the green-eyed “Girl” who is the human embodiment of the Devil/serpent—numerous clues such as the red Dodge Viper and “anointing” Corso with her blood confirm this—and Boris Balkan’s acquisition of the decaying 13th century Cathar castle that had served as a fortress against the military forces of Catholicism. The biggest clue is the title of the (fictitious) book: The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows because, for the Cathars (“purists”), the material world is an evil kingdom of shadows, ruled by Rex Mundi (“Satan”/the fallen Lucifer). Each of the initiatory nine gates (crafted by the screenplay’s writers) is a particular life experience that one must pass through in order to achieve entrance into the un-shadowy world of light/Illumination. 

The use of certain family names—some are identifiable by associated symbols—and other factors pertaining to the intellect, social stature, wealth, and lifestyle of those who sought and acquired every possible ancient occult book, including The Nine Gates, more than hints at the fact that there are those who believe that certain bloodlines were carefully chosen, contacted, and led astray by the Devil (“Rex Mundi” of the Cathars). In the film, they are finally terminated one-by-one with book-dealer Corso’s unwitting assistance. Corso—in the “course” of being groomed—was selected due to his amoral, self-centered, and self-indulgent attitude and because he loves books for their monetary value. For both Corso and the Devil, a metaphysical book is a device in service to an agenda: the manipulation of minds for purposes other than enlightenment. And yet the greatest experience of Light has a way of emerging from out of total Darkness.

The above is only a portion of the information we have developed. More will be shared in a larger writing, including a connection between this movie and Rosemary’s Baby.


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28 Responses to “Analysis: Polanski’s “The Ninth Gate””

  1. Sara B. Good Says:

    The devil is always portrayed as a male figure, including in the movie Rosemary’s Baby. In the Adam and Eve story, Eve ate the apple. She was not the serpent. Most critics who have deconstructed the Ninth Gate refer to the unnamed green-eyed woman as “the Girl,” the label given in the credits at the end. She serves as a kind of messenger and protector of Corso, so I could see her being a fallen angel but not as the devil.

  2. PluribusOne™ Says:

    We preface this comment by reminding our readers that we are dealing with the concept of “evil,” a concept that is perceived differently by different people. Many see the Devil as mythological, or an archetype, and many see the Devil as real, as Satan, as the fallen Archangel originally named Lucifer. For the sake of simplicity, we will not attempt to address the matter beyond the context of the screenplay. We reserve that for a larger future writing apart from this blog.

    The “girl” is clearly meant to be a supernatural being, a “fallen angel” in human form. That she, further, portrays the fallen angel Lucifer, who (in this story) wrote The Delomelanicon, from which the text and engravings of The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows books derive, is our conclusion based on numerous minor clues and one major and final clue that makes it a certainty.

    One clue is her career as a sort of “student” who continually travels around the world with her back-pack and sneakers. This reflects a passage in the Bible where God asks Satan where he has been, and Satan answers: “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” Another clue indicates that she embodies the author of the Delomelanicon: her enigmatic statement, “I like books,” together with the scene where she is reading: How to Win Friends and Influence People. When she anoints Corso with blood in the hotel room, it shows he has been chosen by her, the Devil, to receive admission to the ninth gate and none of the others such as the Baroness or Boris Balkan.

    The “girl” is more than Corso’s guardian angel because she actively leads him deeper and deeper into the mystery and meaning of this book that Victor Fargas calls “dangerous.” In encouraging him to become more involved than his work for Balkan requires, she does such things as lead Corso back to Fargas’ estate. Later, she stops him from intervening to save “the Telfer woman” and makes it clear that she is not helping facilitate Balkan’s quest to enter the ninth gate.

    Corso had been under Satan’s observation for some time prior to his involvement with the book. Recall that she followed him when he went to Bernie’s bookstore, and she was in attendance at Balkan’s lecture before Balkan asked Corso to compare his volume to the others. But the “clincher” occurs near the end of the story where she mysteriously appears at the chateau—a place at great distance from where Corso left her, a destination unknown even to him at the time—and has sexual intercourse with him while Balkan and his chateau burn in the background.

    That scene, where she straddles Corso—reminiscent of the biblical Book of Revelation’s imagery of the whore riding the beast—connects this story with Rosemary’s Baby because in both stories the Devil engages in sexual intercourse with a human. In Rosemary’s Baby, the birth of an antichrist is made obvious, although there is some ambiguity. In The Ninth Gate, the same purpose is apparent except that impregnation and birth are more ambiguous. Where in Rosemary’s Baby the baby is the quid pro quo that enables Rosemary’s husband to become a successful actor, in The Ninth Gate, intercourse is a more subtle way to express the same quid pro quo that, in this case, allows Corso to receive the correct engraving, the key that opens the ninth gate.

  3. Stark Raven Says:

    Can you give us one of the associated family names of collectors of ancient writings?

  4. PluribusOne™ Says:

    A certain Medici family member—Lorenzo the Magnificent—is known to have assembled a library of ancient magical writings during the latter half of the 15th century. Apparently because of this and his unusual success, there was a popular belief among some Florentines that Lorenzo held a demon captive in his ring (which apparently had a hidden compartment).

    A Medici connection to the fictional tale of the nine gates is either intentionally alluded to in various scenes of the film or it is an astounding coincidence.

    For example, in reality, an ancient Egyptian alchemical text acquired by Lorenzo was later deemed a forgery; in the movie, Boris Balkan acquires a copy of a book designed to “raise the Devil” but it fails. To investigate the book’s authenticity, as Balkan’s agent Corso travels first to Toledo, Spain to inquire about the possibility that it is a forgery.

    Another example appears at the point in the film where Corso is seen escaping from the fire in the devil-worshipping Baroness Kessler’s apartment: he collides with her gatekeeper-secretary and the camera focuses on six oranges as they fall and bounce down the stairs, as if chasing Corso out of the building. Oranges are a symbol associated with the Medici. The Medici coat of arms displays six balls, originally arranged so that imaginary lines form the Star of David.

    In another scene, lamps at the jambs of a doorway (also symbolic) include a pattern that mimics a later and more widely recognized version of the Medici coat of arms; Lucifer incarnate as “the girl” is seated beyond, in the next room.

  5. Stark Raven Says:

    How can you be sure Polanski intended such subtle signs? It seems to me that some of this could be coincidental.

  6. PluribusOne™ Says:

    Polanski included many meaningful details that the average movie-goer would not recognize. It is almost as if the film were created on two levels (esoteric and exoteric), to serve two audiences. There is definitely an under-story.

    Here is some evidence against the idea that these details are unconscious or coincidental: In the story, the author-printer of The Nine Gates book, Aristide Torchia, a Venetian, was burned at the stake (red-orange-yellow flames) by the Holy Inquisition in 1667. Venice, in the mid-1600s was a center for foreign trade and printing, in which Jewish residents played a central role; it was also a center for Kabbalah study (Jewish mysticism/occult). The orange-yellow taxi cab with black-and-white-checkered trim (Freemasonry symbolism) that takes book-dealer Corso to the airport is numbered 6X67; the driver is wearing a red turban.

    Here’s more: In the book, The Nine Gates, the first engraving is of a (apparently Templar) knight on horseback riding toward a castle with four spires. The inscription below it is: “Silence is golden.” In actual history, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, founder of the Netherlands, rebelled against the King of Spain in order to secure his political power and the Netherlands’ liberty.

    And more: Among other details throughout the film, the camera draws close attention to the orange-yellow and red Shell Oil logo (twice, at locations in France). We see that the company was, in reality, originally founded in 1890 by a man named Jean Baptiste August Kessler. The Nine Gates’ fictional character, Baroness Kessler resided in France. The current controlling stockholder of Royal Dutch Shell is Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, whose non-Catholic dynasty descends from the royal House of Orange (associated colors are red and orange: see Image File #29). And those “oranges” trace back to southern France and to the Holy Roman Empire where, in Italy, the Medici family crest included oranges, or orange-colored balls.

    If not coincidences, what is the message? Much more remains to be revealed.

  7. Valiant Says:

    I still don’t get the ending, except that Corso gets to enter the ninth gate and Balken did not. If there were clues about the meaning I missed them. Please explain because this is the part of the movie that everyone I know hated. If the ninth gate is a doorway to death why does Corso enter it willingly?

  8. PluribusOne™ Says:

    The images Boris Balkan collected from the three books included the incorrect ninth engraving, inserted by the (Catholic?) Ceniza twins who must have understood the purpose and plan for the future use of the interlocking books. Therefore, the story the engravings told was interpreted incorrectly by Balkan. That misinterpretation is what killed him.

    Because the final engraving showed fire inside the castle, Balkan apparently believed the key to entering into god-like illumination and immortality involved the element of Fire, which is associated with traditional ideas about Hell and the Devil and burnt offerings. So he used a satanic ritual involving fire, one he would have found in a book in his library. He was tricked into burning himself “at the stake.”

    When Corso, as the long-chosen but unwitting one, was led to find the correct final engraving, which depicted a star-burst of light, seeing that image together with the other eight allowed him to understand that his archetypal experiences revealed the pathway to enlightenment, to awareness of a reality beyond the alchemical elements of Omniverse.

    Becoming self-aware is not achieved by way of a ritual trial-by-fire, or passage across (or baptism in) a river, or being taken up in a whirlwind (or chariot/UFO) into a heaven in the sky, or by descending into a Tartarus (or Agartha) within the earth, or by vanishing (transmuting or beaming-up) into the intangible realm of consciousness—not achieved through the manipulation of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, or Aether, but by pure awareness.

    Entering into the ancient Cathar castle was symbolic of Corso’s “cathar-sis.”

  9. joe blow Says:

    Also there are cans of Fanta (orange juice) in Corsos hotel mini bar.

  10. PluribusOne™ Says:

    Thanks. We missed that one, Joe. And you are correct that Orange Fanta® is made from real orange juice (outside the USA).

    The original logo was round and orange, like an orange. So this prop does appear to have been intentionally planted as a “breadcrumb.”

    The cans of Fanta®—for others who also missed this—are in the mini-fridge in Corso’s hotel room in the scene where he returns from the street fight.

    Fanta® is owned by Coca-Cola®, and we see old-style Coke® bottles in the refrigerator door. Some intentional thought was obviously given to inclusion of these props.

  11. Sara B. Good Says:

    I recently watched the movie again and suddenly wondered why Corso in the end is entering into a bright light inside the castle when the Ninth Gate is about the Kingdom of Shadows. Where is this kingdom? Is it a parallel universe? Another dimension? Hell?

  12. PluribusOne™ Says:

    The material world is the Kingdom of Shadows.

    Some articles found online refer to the fictional book by Torchia by the title: “The Nine Gates to the Kingdom of Shadows.” That is incorrect. The title given in the story is: “The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows”—OF.

    In Catharism the material world, Earth, was fundamentally evil, in contrast to the good and perfect Heaven. Earth related to darkness and Heaven related to light. The nine gates of the movie were metaphorical-experiential gates that the seeker of the light needed to pass through in order to step beyond the Kingdom of Shadows. The ninth gate was the final gate, entrance into Lucifer’s realm of light. Lucifer means “bringer of light.” The first book of the Torah reveals Lucifer as having been the chief of all angels.

    You might also want to read the analogy of the cave in Plato’s “Republic.” The message of Plato’s allegory is that humanity resides in a realm where only the shadows of true forms are seen except by the rare individual who finds freedom from the cave.

    We note that in 529 AD the (Catholic) Emperor Justinian closed the revived Platonic Academy, the “Neoplatonic Academy.” The Platonic Academy at Athens had been destroyed centuries earlier by a Roman General named Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, another culture warrior who advanced the ideals of a dictatorial state.

  13. joe blow Says:

    On the DVD “Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired” one of Polanskis friends talks about how two of them in Poland often communicated in ‘Kafkaesque double speak’ or hoped a red tomato prop would somehow represent communism in their films.

    Ninth Gate shares same Production Designer with the Godfather trilogy (which is famous for using the motif of on screen oranges to foreshadow someones death).

    Directors Commentary of Ninth Gate is absolutely boring, banal and lazy , which should tell you something.

  14. PluribusOne™ Says:

    Regarding the “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” DVD, we found no real insights into Polanski’s filmmaking techniques although his early years of surviving under the rule of Nazis and communists must have influenced him psychologically and politically. The DVD helps understand the man as a person. There is brief mention of his familiarity with Kafka’s writings and the fact that Europeans had to be politically-correct in their public speech as opposed to private conversation. To some degree this has always been true everywhere. Even in “free” countries today a high percentage of people live under fascistic rule in the workplace—or at home—where coded language is also common.

    Because films—as opposed to narrative-rich books—must present everything visually, there is a great deal of symbolism embedded in the images. We attribute that to the artfulness and intellect of the filmmaker. Most use easily identifiable symbolism and many include “occult” ingredients drawn from mythology, Freudian or Jungian psychology, astrology, numerology, color theory, etc, which connects with the viewer’s subconscious, if not conscious awareness. Orange is an energizing color useful in helping convey the idea that the level of action is about to rise up the emotional scale. Yet, sometimes there is clearly a more specific message in the symbol when combined with a specific object or shape and put into motion or placed in a particular setting and accompanied by a certain sound, gesture, intensity of light, etc.

    A production designer would play a role in that, but Polanski has a reputation for micro-managing everything in his films. It seems certain that every detail either originates in his intention or intuition or must submit to his inspection and receive approval. Polanski can seem guarded in discussing his films, but, then, most artists of all kinds prefer to communicate strictly through their creations and leave it to others to explain and interpret their work. Often they function on an instinctive or intuitive level to the point that their work is somewhat of a mystery even to themselves. Another prime example is Robert Altman and his: “3 Women.”

  15. joe blow Says:

    I guess I came across as saying that the Production Designer might have been responsible for something like those oranges since the same designer worked on The Godfather Trilogy but no, I also just think of it as a conscious part of the ‘Mise-en-scène’ on behalf of the director. It is just a strange coincidence.

    Here’s an interesting quote from someone whos films people like to analyze a lot: ”When you say something directly, it’s simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves.” —Stanley Kubrick

  16. PluribusOne™ Says:

    Although neither Coppola nor Puzo have, as far as I know, explained the oranges in The Godfather, the solution to that mystery seems to be the “blood orange” that is orange on the outside and red inside. Blood oranges grow in Italy (including Sicily) and Spain. The juice is reddish and reportedly (we have not tried one) bitter.

    The symbolism makes sense with respect to that movie, but is somewhat off-topic related to The Ninth Gate where we see orange and oranges as originating with the Medici and the Medici originating in the East (Persia). In the coat of arms of Orange, France, we see a link to the Medici coat of arms.

    That the Medici bloodline “disappeared forever,” as one renowned scholar claims, is a myth that ignores the intermarriage of descendants with other royal families of Europe and continuation of the Medici bloodline and surname.

    Medici family roots trace back to the biblical Magi (wise men/astrologers), and Ourania (Oran-ia) is the goddess (Urania, the muse) associated with astronomy/astrology and, among other things, the Royal Netherlands Navy. Further exploration of this is saved for publication in our book when it finds a worthy publisher.

  17. Sandi Says:

    Is the book on The Ninth Gate and Polanski?

  18. PluribusOne™ Says:

    No, the book will be a history book, a book that gives the world an expanded and more accurate view of forces, factors, and events that shaped the last 2,000 years of Western civilization, a book without a particular culture-perpetuating agenda that also does not promote a conspiracy theory.

    If I use any reference to Polanski or to this film it will be brief mention in a footnote because The Ninth Gate is not an authoritative source any more than the “Mona Lisa” painting is an authoritative source. These are cultural artifacts — interpretations, intimations, impressions, that are themselves subject to interpretation and speculation.

  19. PluribusOne™ Says:

    Here’s an amusing coincidence: there is a music group in France named Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle. The Emmanuelle is French actress Emanuelle Seigner, Roman Polanski’s wife, who played the role of “the Girl” in this film.

  20. BabylonLignerSigSelv Says:

    So we are led to believe that Corso inadvertently follows a path which leads him through the nine states that are depicted in the engravings. Going through these states he ultimately reaches enlightenment, he unites himself with Lucifer. Alright, so far so good.

    But why have the spanish bookselling-brothers (the name escapes me) done such a lousy job of hiding the truth that lies within the book? You suggest that they, in an act of catholicism, try to prevent this truth from ever being discovered, as the potential summoners will be misled by the false ninth engraving. Did they forget the original ninth engraving when they left the store? Did they just leave it willy-nilly on the top shelf?

    Alright, I guess Lucifer, through its manifestation as “The Girl”, got rid of the spaniards and left the ninth engraving for Corso to “stumble upon”, the way he stumbles upon everything else in the film, through the guidance of “The Girl”. Nonetheless… It seems the brothers have a rather blatant way of “concealing evidence”. If i were a well-read spanish guy, who somehow had the key to the summoning of Lucifer in my possession, i think i would open one of the books that sorrounded me, and let one of the stories of olde inspire me to “burn that key at the stake”, if you catch my drift. Why does the ninth engraving exist, when it is in the hand of catholics? Paper is so easy to get rid of. Are we to believe that the temptations of Lucifer are stronger than the love of God?

    Another thing that seemed odd to me, was when Corso beats the blond black guy relentlessly, “Thir Girl” smiles and says: “I didn’t think you had it in you.” Corso has been monitered and chosen by Lucifer to walk the path to and through the ninth gate, but Lucifer wasn’t really convinced that he was the right choice? So, like every other charachter in this movie, even Lucifer lucifer makes lazy and/or bad choices? Well, I guess the comment is meant to be ironic – pointing that “The Girl” in fact knew about Corso’s capabilities before even he did. Making it a self-referential joke of sorts. A bad one, I might add.

  21. PluribusOne™ Says:

    Our take on it is that the Ceniza brothers were Catholic but also knowledgeable with respect to the occult (as is the Church), and it was the Cenizas’ business to restore and act as sales agent for old books. The seller, perhaps a Vatican official, wanted to profit from the sale of this million-dollar book while disabling its ability to provide the tools the buyer would be seeking. Some would see it as a moral act to cheat an evildoer while also taking his money—like a nation selling obsolete or defective weapons to an enemy nation for a large sum.

    As restorers of such a rare book, we think the Cenizas either could not destroy anything that old and valuable, or they were instructed to safe-keep the pages they extracted. Although they had no sympathy for Lucifer, they had one thing in common with the story’s concept of Lucifer: a love of books. So, for one reason or the other, they put the engraving they removed in a place where they did not expect anyone would ever find it. They had no reason to think anyone would even realize that they had made a substitution and seek after it.

    After Corso’s visit, the Cenizas could see that intrigue surrounding the book was mounting. They knew that the book’s integrity was being questioned. Rather than deal with possible interrogation by authorities or, more likely, retaliation from Balkan, they moved on. Or, it is possible that Balkan—who had been closely tracking Corso—considered that the Cenizas might have kept a copy of that text which had the LCF version of the ninth engraving in it. As far as Balkan knew, that ninth engraving he held had the final key to the final lock, and he might have suspected that the Cenizas had, at one time or another, been in possession of all three copies for the purpose of restoration. Therefore, he would have killed the Cenizas to insure that he alone held the keys. This is most likely the case and explains why the Cenizas failed to take the genuine engraving when they left—they were dead.

    With regard to the scene where the “Girl” tells Corso: “I didn’t know you had it in you,” we see this as acknowledging the concept of free will and as Lucifer flattering Corso in order to sway him a little further toward the endgame. Based on observable behavior, Corso was amoral, and he was known to be another lover of books, if only for their value; however, he had to be seduced to enter into progressively closer relationship (his initiation) until his last step, into the ninth gate, which was entirely willful.

  22. The Citywide Mental Health Project Says:

    The engravings have the faces of some of the characters Corso bumps into: the ‘angel’ with the bow and arrow is the guy who dies at the pool (or the Ceniza brothers), the woman riding the monster is the girl with Depp, That was evidently intentional. While Corso must walk the walk to find his destiny, he is not totally on his own, he was been guided. He chose to continue to pursue Lucifer by his own will. Whether he was pursuing ‘enlightenment’ or darkness, I don’t know. You have more material. care to comment.

    Maybe you are ‘it’. Yours is the best and most interesting discussion I have found online about the movie. Your knowledge about history and ‘consciousness’ is deep. Hmm. Who are you REALLY?

    Just kidding.

  23. PluribusOne™ Says:

    Thank you for the compliment, Citywide.

    We see the image of the wingless angel with the bow and arrow as directly and intentionally pertinent to Corso’s encounter with the collapsing scaffolding (yes, the Ceniza brothers visit) and also resonant with the general idea of adversaries as expounded on by Joseph Campbell as a critical ingredient of “The Hero’s Journey.”

    We also agree that the woman astride the seven-headed beast reflects Corso’s intercourse with the Devil in female form, an apparent allusion to the Harlot in the biblical Book of Revelation—metaphors for metaphors for (as we see it) the grand collusion of Church and State toward the birthing of one power to rule over both the sacred and secular domains and control the minds and bodies of all people on the planet.

    That the angel’s face resembles the Ceniza twins supports the idea (discussed in our last comment) that the Cenizas were also being unwittingly guided by Lucifer by keeping the coded book “alive” and saving the crucial final engraving as Corso’s reward—another Hero’s Journey element.

    The hedonistic Corso is following his self-serving curious nature, unaware that Lucifer is paving the way or that he is on an archetypal quest toward any kind of enlightenment or empowerment by a supernatural entity. Corso is neither religious nor a Satanist—he is without faith in anything except money. He shows no interest in Lucifer early on where he falls asleep during Balkan’s talk, and he later queries the Baroness as to whether she actually believes in the Devil.

  24. PluribusOne™ Says:

    In the matter of Polanski’s use of a woman to embody the Devil, see also our July, 2013 post: “What Sex is Saturn?”

  25. Tigersprite Says:

    When the girl and Corso are at Farga’s home, as she is climbing up the side of the house I see that she is wearing one red sock and one green sock. Do you see that as a clue to her identity?

  26. PluribusOne™ Says:

    The mismatched socks, one red (right foot) and the other green, are clearly intended to serve as a subtle clue to the nature and purpose of the Girl, “green eyes.” This clue is saying that she is not entirely a feminine being, yet not exactly androgynous either, that to see the truth about her we must look beyond her physicality. The socks are, at least partly, a hint to look to the kabbalistic Tree of Life for insight.

    Note too that her hair is red and her eyes are green.

    Red and green are opposites on an artist’s color wheel although complementary in that red is active and green is passive—masculine and feminine. Yet, numerologically, they are both aligned with the assertive energy usually associated with maleness. From the perspective of creational energies, the initiating energy must work through the receptive/responsive energy in order to bring anything into being. So, in a sense, green is the friendly adversary of red.

    Red and green are typically perceived as opposites, but while they represent dynamic tension they are not as opposite as black and white. Combined numerologically they reflect the concept of “everlasting potential.” Red and green are the prominent colors of Christmas—blood and evergreens—which traces back to the pagan roots of Christmas related to the death and rebirth of Nimrod.

    Vincent van Gogh used red and green together to express “the terrible human passions,” the craving to clash.

  27. Morgan Says:

    Oranges are also used in the first couple scenes of the 1978 movie, The Legacy. I get it, but I always thought apples would have worked better in both movies. Maybe that would be just too obvious, and then too I suppose there’s more layers to the orange reference.

  28. Datakn Lee Says:

    I felt so “left behind” as this movie ended. Dean Corso is finally rewarded with enlightenment, but those of us that lived out the quest of this story with the protagonist were left guessing. Your analysis of this movie has given me some rewards by openly and clearly expressing what I could only gather intuitively.


    In the movie, Corso says that his name is Italian and that it means to run. The Girl said that he does not look like a runner. I looked for the meaning of the name and found that it actually means to assist or help. The literal picture is of someone running up to help. He only seemed to have a literal understanding of his own name. He did not grasp the actual significance of it.

    Is it possible that Dean Corso was Aristide Torchia reborn, following the planned quest of his life that he and Lucifer had carved out in the nine engravings? He assisted Lucifer in writing. Maybe he did not see this significance, the reality of an arranged quest, and looked at himself as running away from the tragic end he experienced in 1667.

    Baroness Kessler: My latest work: “The Devil: History and Myth” – a kind of biography. It will be published early next year.
    Dean Corso: Why the devil?
    Baroness Kessler: [laughs] I saw him one day. I was fifteen years old, and I saw him as plain as I see you now. It was love at first sight.
    Dean Corso: You know, 300 years ago, you’d have been burned at the stake for saying something like that.
    Baroness Kessler: 300 years ago I wouldn’t have said it!

    If the Girl is Lucifer manifested, and the Baroness was speaking the truth of her sighting of the Devil as a male that she fell in love with, then the Satan manifests in the form that is most likely to establish intimacy with an individual.

    For me, It breaks down to an individual’s quest and an intimacy with an icon of passions, obsessions that guide and encourage one forward through the various intimidating gates.

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