In New York, the money-driven dealer Dean Corso is a rare-books expert and partner of Bernie, who owns a bookstore. He is contacted by the renowned collector of books about the devil Boris Balkan, who has just acquired the rare The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows from the collector Andrew Telfer, to verify whether his book is authentic or a forgery. Balkan explains that the book was written by the writer Aristide Torchia, in 1666, with Lucifer and he was burned at the stake with his entire work. There are only three exemplars of The Nine Gates and in accordance with the legend, its nine engravings form a riddle to conjure the devil. The skeptical Corso accepts the assignment and has to fly to Sintra, Portugal, and Paris, France, to contact the owners Victor Fargas and Baroness Kessler and find the genuine exemplar for Balkan. Meanwhile, he asks Bernie to hide the rare book. Before traveling to Europe, the widow Liana Telfer wants to retrieve the book and has sex with Corso, but ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
While showing off his collection to Corso, Fargas presents a
"Dictionaire Infernal" by Jacques Collin de Plancy, which he says is a first edition from 1844. The first edition of this influential encyclopedia on superstition appeared in 1818, but its sixth edition, published in 1863, is prized for its illustrations, including 72 drawings of demons. The copy Fargas holds has a title page that is from the 1863 edition. See more »
It's an impressive collection. You have some very rare editions here. Are you sure you want to sell them all?
Old Man's Son:
They're of no use to father. Not anymore. Not since he's been this way. His library was his whole world. Now it's just a painful memory.
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Every scene features either somebody smoking (Corso if not someone else) and ashes. The Ceniza brothers have a Spanish last name that means 'ash'. And, of course, this being a movie about the devil and an author burned at the stake, fire and smoke and ashes HAVE to be there as a means for Polanski to add some humor to the story. Maybe. But I still am trying to figure out the Ceniza bros. They look like the angel with bow and arrow in one of the engravings. Or are they the reincarnation of the infernal spirit of Aristide Torchi, author of the Ninth Gate, burned at the stake? When Corso, in the final scene, goes into their Toledo bookstore one hears and sees one boy saying in Spanish "sí, sí mamá", the very words Corso heard from him the first time he went into the Ceniza's store (a time capsule).
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