Medea

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It's worth stressing the position of Medea in Pasolini's work, since it makes much the most sense when seen in context: it followed Pigsty (whose twin-level structure it duplicates, this time within a single narrative), and preceded the much-abused trilogy (whose rumbustious humour and sexuality were apparently a reaction against the outright nihilism evident here). That said, the film stands as Pasolini's most bizarre exploration of Freudian themes through Marxist eyes: a retelling of Medea's story (elopement, marriage, desertion, revenge) as a mixture of social anthropology and ritual theatre, with every incident given both a 'magic' and a 'rational' reading. Its splendours crystallise in the casting of Callas as Medea, a virtual mime performance with her extraordinary mask of a face bespeaking extremes of emotion; its weaknesses, equally, in the casting of Gentile as Jason, blandly butch, whose presence does nothing to fill out an ill-sketched, passive role. But the real achievement is that Pasolini's visual discourse is every bit as eloquent as the verbal one he puts in the mouth of Terzieff's centaur.

By: TR

Release details

Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Screenwriter: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: Maria Callas
Giuseppe Gentile
Laurent Terzieff
Massimo Girotti
Margareth Clementi
Anna Maria Chio
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