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Medea (1969)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 28 January 1970 (France)
After his quest to retrieve the fabled Golden Fleece, Jason returns to Greece with the powerful sorceress, Medea. However, when the king banishes her, it's only human that Medea plots her furious revenge. Can they escape her wrath?
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maria Callas ... Medea
Massimo Girotti ... King Kresus / Creonte
Laurent Terzieff ... Centaur
Giuseppe Gentile Giuseppe Gentile ... Jason
Margareth Clémenti Margareth Clémenti ... Glauce (as Margareth Clementi)
Paul Jabara Paul Jabara ... Pelias
Gerard Weiss Gerard Weiss ... Second centaur
Sergio Tramonti Sergio Tramonti ... Apsirto, Medea's brother
Luigi Barbini Luigi Barbini ... Un Argonauta
Gian Paolo Durgar Gian Paolo Durgar ... (as Gianpaolo Duregon)
Luigi Masironi Luigi Masironi ... Jason at 5
Michelangelo Masironi Michelangelo Masironi ... Jason at 13
Gianni Bradizi Gianni Bradizi ... Un Argonauta
Franco Jacobbi Franco Jacobbi ... Un Argonauta
Annamaria Chio Annamaria Chio ... Wet-nurse (as Anna Maria Chio)
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Storyline

On a quest to retrieve the fabled Golden Fleece, Jason and the Argonauts arrive at a remote barbarian land where the natives worship the sacred artefact to protect the crops. But, unexpectedly, as Medea--a beautiful high priestess and the land's powerful sorceress--betrays her beliefs to follow Jason back to Greece, a cruel fate awaits her. As a result, deserted and banished by the king, it's only human that Medea plots her furious revenge. Can they escape her wrath? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Maria Callas' first dramatic movie!

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France | West Germany

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

28 January 1970 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Медея See more »

Filming Locations:

Cappadocia, Turkey See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes set around Medea's house in Corinth were filmed outside the ancient city walls of Aleppo in Syria. See more »

Goofs

When Jason speaks to the two centaurs, there is a mismatch in their shadows in the middle of the screen, indicating that the image is a composite. See more »

Quotes

King Kresus: You are a barbarian from a foreign land, different from us. We don't want you among us. It is impossible to see into the depths of one's soul.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wie de Waarheid Zegt Moet Dood (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

A Savage, Beautiful and Raw Medea
20 September 2004 | by gpadilloSee all my reviews

I first saw Medea in college and was highly critical of it, finding it disappointing on almost all counts: terrible sound editing, cheap film stock, over bright lighting, bizarre, amateurish acting styles, inadequately edited, etc. Then there was the extended murder scene of Glauce and Creon going seemingly on forever, and then . . . wait; what's this? It's repeated all over again? Did someone get the wrong reel into the house?

Another ten years went by before I watched it again and after the second viewing, found myself emotionally drained, my jaw on the floor with the realization that I'd just finished a film that alternately horrified, fascinated and astonished me.

Medea is a grim, violent, film, minimally processed which only adds to its gruesome, wild rawness. This is Pasolini's Medea, not Euripedes and it is not easy viewing. Its wild, African/Middle Eastern score with the nasal bleating of women's voices in near pre-historic sounding rhythmic chant adds further to the element of being "out there" this film produces: This is about as far away from popular cinema as one can get. Medea doesn't easily compare to films of any other style or genre; not even with some of Pasolini's other work. But, if you can succumb to its hypnotic, mesmerizing pace at once both frenetic and static - you will realize this is as about as close to a hallucinatory experience one can achieve without the use of an illegal substance. Granted, not everyone wants that experience.

As Medea, Callas is simply amazing. Oddly, when the film came out she was roundly criticized for not being able to transfer the magic she so naturally gave on stage to the big screen. I will strongly disagree. The more I watch this film (which is probably several times a year for well over a decade), the more amazed I am by her performance in it. Where I, too, had first been critical of her languid weirdness, I've grown to see her commitment to the role. I've come to be riveted to her painfully expressive mask as she completely inhabits this character who is, quite literally, capable of everything (yes - everything is the right word here).

Where I was once critical of the lighting, I've grown up to realize what Pasolini did; why he chose to film at the times of day he chose, and the resulting, fascinatingly brutal and surreal luminosity that bathes the entire film and the almost palpable sense of its visual texture. Stunning. The landscapes Pasolini chose to film in are as brutal and as vital as the characters of the tale. His near excision of all spoken text ( the screenplay is nearly dialogue free) brings us into a timeless, yet somehow ancient world where all is understood without the use of verbal communication. The savage, bloody rites of sacrifices for fertility and harvest initially seem barbarous then become somehow beautiful and fascinating. Then they make one cringe with the realization of how, not so long ago, this was us.

A remarkable, savage and beautiful film.


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