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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Pasolini takes a unique approach to Medea. He jettisons all but a few lines of Euripides, and begins the narrative many years before the action of the play. Most strikingly, he shoots almost the entire film in a documentary-like style. And, with a couple of notable exceptions, he creates a picture with almost no dialogue, although the soundtrack features an astonishing musical score (put together by Pasolini) of native North African wind and percussion music (20 years before Peter Gabriel's score for Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, which was clearly inspired by Pasolini).Read more ›
To the reviewer who thought that the repeated scene of the death of the king and his daughter was a technical error, watch it carefully again. Medea dreams the act of revenge first, then sets it into motion and the dream becomes reality. This is in all the films of this I have seen. It is not a mistake.
Magnifique performance de Maria Callas!
The film itself is good, although it doesn't reach the heights of Pasolini's earlier Oedipus Rex. The film is very slow, lacking a great deal of dialogue, until it explodes at the very end. It's a little convaluted, and I highly advise reading a summary of the story before delving into the film.
While Medea isn't Pasolini's best film, it's certainly not his worst DVD. Worth a rental, at least.
Most recent customer reviews
Am I the only one to notice that the killing of the Princess and her father is shown twice in the DVD version? (Is it in the tape edition also? Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2004 by F. Behrens
A great film where we recognize Pasolini's talent and interests. I highly recommend it.Published on Dec 12 2002