Medea

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Opera legend Maria Callas brings fierce beauty and harrowing power to Pasolini's version of Euripides' tragedy.

NEW 35mm PRINT!

In her only major non-operatic role in cinema, Maria Callas as Medea brings fierce beauty and harrowing power to Pasolini's version of Euripides' tragedy — but if you can't take your eyes off her (highly probable!), you'll miss the film's other triumph, its stunning, consciously "primitive" visual design. The director said that what fascinated him most about the tale of a woman who, deserted by her husband, avenges herself with acts of unimaginable violence, was its love story, and in particular Medea's "excess of love." Callas is beyond astonishing, tender as a succouring mother and then chilling as a vengeful wife awash in blood, her hieratic features intensifying her ferocious emotions. Callas' piercing cry of revenge at the film's conclusion echoes across antiquity to the present day; though no feminist, Pasolini could not resist celebrating Medea's triumph against the forces of rationality as embodied by Jason. "Superb.... In casting Maria Callas in the title role [Pasolini] has visualized his theme with extraordinary success" (Vincent Canby, The New York Times).

The 2K restoration of MEDEA was carried out by SNC (GROUPE M6). The new 35 mm print provided by the Cinecittà Luce was made with the generous support of Gucci.