In pre-war Italy, a young couple have a baby boy. The father, however, is jealous of his son - and the scene moves to antiquity, where the baby is taken into the desert to be killed. He is rescued, given the name Edipo (Oedipus), and brought up by the King and Queen of Corinth as their son. One day an oracle informs Edipo that he is destined to kill his father and marry his mother. Horrified, he flees Corinth and his supposed parents - only to get into a fight and kill an older man on the road...Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Sophocles' Oedipus Rex is adapted well for the foreign screen. Pasolini, better known for the controversial Salo; 120 Days of Sodom, has kept the intensity level to a minimum while still presenting the perverse qualities for which he would be known for. If you don't know the story (like who doesn't) read the play before seeing the movie - there tends to be a shortage on literature freaks these days. Beautifully filmed, Oedipus Rex begins in modern times, continues sometime BC, and finally ends back in the 20th century; thus presenting a sociological thesis for the viewer. The acting is a bit hammy (seeing Oedipus with a mad streak can be over the top) although the characters are developed well and recite their lines as if on stage. My only complaint is the subtitles seem to blend in with the scenery --- white subtitles against a white background. Therefore, this flaw makes it difficult to enjoy some scenes, and Pasolini's poetry is usually superb. Nevertheless, it's still a great film and is worth a look, especially by people with preconceived hatred for Pasolini's later work -and there's definitely a lot out there.
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