Based on the Greek classic by Euripides, Pasolini's Medea tells the tale of Jason, the leader of the invincible army, and his quest for the Golden Fleece. Meeting the priestess of the Flees, Medea (Callas), Jason falls in love with her and takes her home as she sacrifices everything to be with him, including dismembering her own brother. Years later he spurns her for a new love, the young and beautiful Glauce. Medea, using her witch-craft powers, exacts a terrible revenge upon Jason leading to a terrifying climax where loyalty and betrayal are tried before the altar of human sacrifice. Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
The only movie made by Maria Callas, Medea
nevertheless contains not a note of the great diva singing. And yet her presence is stunning, with a face (often seen in close-up) that cuts across the frame like a great phenomenon of nature. This raw, mostly wordless take on the Greek classic is a characteristic film from the influential Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini: intellectually sophisticated yet almost primitive in its feel. The weird, jagged locations and Pasolini's elliptical style contribute to the sense of violence already in the story, and the visual approach (realized by Gangs of New York
production designer Dante Ferretti) brings in African masks and pagan rituals. If it's not quite satisfying as a treatment of the original Euripides play, it succeeds as a blunt experience in its own right. And tantalizingly suggests what Callas might have done had she opted for a movie career. --Robert Horton
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.