As Above, So Below

As Above, So Below ★★★★

Another watch in my August scavenger hunt, this movie was found on this month’s host’s list.

Here’s my confession: I’ve watched hours and hours of urban exploration videos on YouTube of kids in dirty shoes holding expensive cameras breaking through to the off-limits sections of the Parisian catacombs. I’ve dreamt of finding the hidden entrances, too, and finding a secret bar amongst the bones, and sitting down to a glass of wine by candle light. I’ve seen images of rooms set up with makeshift movie theaters, adorned with chairs and a projector. How terrifying and exhilarating would it be to know these tunnels by heart, passing through the historic art installations only seen by a brave few. Ive also imagined how terrifying it could be, corner after corner of skulls and cracked floors and tiny shimmy-hole passages and, of course, the chance to encounter those who prefer to be underground among the dead. 

I was excited to watch a movie that explored this idea — the danger and the arcane, an Indiana Jones of alchemy and hell with no Virgile as a guide. And honestly this pulled through. By no means is this an amazing piece of cinema, but I found it effective and exciting. The visuals were perfect for me — a gothic glimpse, a magickal mystery, with ancient art and treasure and pale white corpses and rivers of blood.

As Dante went through his nine circles, we thought of punishments fitting the crimes and we learned about purgatory and absolution and rectification of what you were guilty of. We learned that the only way out was through — through it all to the very depths of hell. 

This crew, the French urbex kids, our headstrong lead and Ginsberg from Mad Men, had to learn it the hard way, instead of in AP English like the rest of us. 

This was a lot of fun, and I could see rewatching it to catch more connections to the divine comedy. A votre santé, mes sorcières.

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