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Medea [Blu-ray] (1969)

Maria Callas , Massimo Girotti , Pier Paolo Pasolini  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Maria Callas, Massimo Girotti
  • Directors: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,147 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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. Opera legend Maria Callas stars in her only dramatic film role ever. Restored and re-mastered from a new 35mm film-to-tape transfer.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbaric, Raw and Brilliant September 20, 2004
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.
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90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MEDEA, one of Pasolini's greatest films, finally on DVD December 31, 2002
Pasolini has the dubious distinction of being the only great filmmaker who was murdered, possibly at the behest of a right-wing faction which loathed the openly gay, Marxist, atheist - and popular - artist. Whatever the facts of his death, his reputation as one of Italy's greatest talents is based securely on his poetry, novels, works of critical theory and, in particular, the 25 films he directed. They include such stylistically diverse works as Accatone (1961; adapted from his own novel about life in the slums of modern Rome), The Gospel According to Matthew (1964; a beautiful, moving film about Christ), a stunning version of the Arabian Nights (1974), and his last film, the most nauseating masterpiece I have ever seen, Salò (1975; the Marquis de Sade's 1780s novel updated to Mussolini's Fascist Italy). But Pasolini's most underrated film is his startling version of Medea (1969). Its recent release on DVD (from Vanguard-Cinema) makes this is an opportune time to revisit the ultimate incarnation of the adage, Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.
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).
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Legendary filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini put opera diva Maria Callas front and center in this 1969 interpretation of Euripides' tragic "Medea." It was her only dramatic film role, and so this piece has had enduring appeal for her legion of fans old and new. Making its Blu-ray debut, I think it's fair to say that this version is pure Pasolini. In other words, while it will certainly be embraced by followers of the enigmatic director and by viewers enthusiastic to see Callas perform in a different medium, it is not a film that was designed to be universally embraced. For my taste, Pasolini was always a more successful provocateur than straightforward storyteller and "Medea" is a classic example of the meeting of art and film. Aloof, sparse, sometimes stagnant, sometimes brutal--this is not a classic telling of Euripides' tale, but something that is undeniably governed by Pasolini's vision.

It follows the basic outline of the tragedy to be sure, but it charts its own course to get there. It is centered around the love affair of Medea and Jason (of Argonauts fame). From the early tryst, to the subsequent betrayal, to the fiery retribution--Callas is never less than intriguing. Methodically paced, this epic is meant for those with patience and that patience is greatly rewarded. The climatic moments of the film are accompanied by powerful imagery and a Callas savagery that you're not likely to forget. It is a great counterpoint to many of the earlier sequences that are virtually wordless. The unorthodox visual, lighting, and musical choices all lend an offbeat and unusual originality to the experience.

Blu-Ray: Restored and remastered, this is certainly the cleanest print of "Medea" that I've ever seen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Even with Callas, this nonsensical film is simply atrocious.
The ONLY reason to watch this horrid abomination is to drool over Maria Callas on film, for those who drool over her. Read more
Published 27 days ago by MadMax
5.0 out of 5 stars Her only screen role and she was brilliant! She brought an extra...
Pasolini, Callas. Her only screen role and she was brilliant! She brought an extra dimension to her operatic roles for she was a great actress! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gigi Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is the real Pasolini and a good acting Callas!
Published 3 months ago by WILLY DE WINDE
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an opera
I was disappointed. I thought I was buying an opera of Maria Callas (there are none that I know of). This is a movie. I wish you would tell the buyers that it's a movie
Published 5 months ago by Ben
4.0 out of 5 stars stunning adaptation
Pasolini made a number of stunning movies in his all-too-short life, but few have the emotive punch in this adaptation of the bitter revenge story that follows Jason's theft of the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Peter H. Burris
1.0 out of 5 stars It was in ITALIAN!
I did not see anywhere on this DVD that it was in ITALIAN! I was unable to use it. My high school kids had a good laugh though.
Published 11 months ago by Lillian
5.0 out of 5 stars Maria Callas, enough said.
To get to see La Divina at work is worth the various directorial vagaries. Maria Callas deserved a better movie than Pasolini gave her.
Published 11 months ago by John H. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars The pain of this sears through you!
Maria Callas was a woman of incredible talents on the opera stage and they are now available to us on this film---even without her great singing!
Published 12 months ago by ann amenta
5.0 out of 5 stars Maria Calas
Maria doesn't sing with her voice in this movie. Maria sings with her eyes.
All the human emotions are gathered in this wonderful interpretation of a classic and are expressed... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Spyros Spentzas
4.0 out of 5 stars Callas is mesmorizing
I'm not much of a film critic, and to be perfectly honest I only watched the film because Maria Callas was in it. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Michael
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