Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Luciano Bartoli, Julian Beck, Franco Citti, Ninetto Davoli, Francesco Leonetti
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
A dark and riveting retelling of the classic Greek tragedy "Oedipus Rex". Unknown to himself, Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother. When the truth is discovered, he puts out his eyes and Oedipus wanders the st... more »
Yet another mediocre transfer from Waterbearer
Scott Richardson | Chicago, IL USA | 05/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Of the three Pasolini DVD's recently released by Waterbearer, Oedipus Rex is probably the best not only in its transfer, but in the film itself.That being said, the transfer is still far from great. The matting is off, although nowhere near as badly as it is on Porcile. The colors are faded and the film is pitted and scratched, but again, nowhere as badly as on the Porcile disc. My main complaint is (as it was with Love Meetings) that the burned-in (not optional) subtitles are white, and are impossible to read in many parts of the washed-out transfer.That being said, this is one of Pasolini's strongest films, and is definitely worth watching, whether you're a cinephile, a Pasolini fan, or a classical scholar. Casual viewers may be put off by Pasolini's style which, admittedly, is an acquired taste, but more open-minded viewers will be greatly rewarded. Again, it's doubtful that these films will see better editions any time soon, so if you're interested, there's no reason to wait around."
Opulent, riveting, strangely autobiographical OEDIPUS REX
J. Clark | metro New York City | 05/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oedipus Rex (1967) is Pasolini's opulent and riveting adaptation of the ancient myth of Oedipus, a man who unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother; simultaneously, it is a provocative reflection of the filmmaker himself. Although Sophocles' 2,500-year-old play forms the basis for the film's second half, Pasolini's prologue is startlingly autobiographical. He opens in early 20th century Fascist Italy, while using the myth's characters to recreate his parents' relationship and his own birth. He then takes us to a mythic ancient world, filmed primarily in Morocco, with vast desert landscapes and stunning native architecture (Thebes is a massive city made of adobe, which feels genuinely ancient and real). Pasolini brings a grandeur and epic sweep to his Oedipus Rex, despite its limited budget, even as he gives full weight to the intimate moments.The film draws great power comes from the completely naturalistic performances, ranging from the leads to the minor characters (Pasolini plays a High Priest). Silvana Mangano (Mrs. Dino De Laurentiis) is outstanding as Jocasta, Oedipus's enigmatic mother/wife. Her stone-like face suggests intense erotic heat with the microscopic wrinkling of a lip. My major reservation with the film is Franco Citti as Oedipus. He appeared in seven films for Pasolini (including the title role in Accatone), and was usually exceptional, but here he brings a too-consistent harsh tone to his role. Of course, Citti's monolithic resolve, as both Oedipus the boy (who cheats to win a discus match) and king, may be Pasolini's point. Namely, since Oedipus refuses to grow, to come to an integrated understanding of who he is and what his society needs him to be, he destroys himself by willful blindness.Visually, Oedipus Rex draws enormous force from its vivid palette and use of the harsh Moroccan sunlight, not to mention its breathtaking, sometimes outrageous sense of style. Yet the literal clarity of the film does not obscure its dreamlike qualities. Pasolini wanted to film the myth as something which takes place in an authentic setting, yet which unfolds in a period outside of historical time. Even the eclectically multicultural soundtrack, with folk music from traditions as startlingly diverse as Japan and Rumania (and this was twenty years before the popularity of "world music"), helps achieve Pasolini's ambitious goal.Intriguingly, the real protagonist of the film is Pasolini himself, who subtextually takes on Freud's (in)famous Oedipus Complex. As he said, "I wanted to make ... a kind of completely metaphoric - and therefore mythicized - autobiography; and ... to confront both the problems of psycho-analysis and the problem of the myth." (In the half hour documentary on Pasolini included on the DVD, one illuminating section is devoted to his views on Oedipus Rex.)Revisionist Freudianism aside, this film succeeds in bringing both Oedipus and his world astonishingly to life. This Oedipus Rex is engrossing because it works simultaneously on so many different levels. For people new to Pasolini, this representative film is an excellent place to begin. In terms of its impact on film history, you can see its influence on pictures as diverse as Fellini Satyricon (1969), Norman Jewison's Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), and Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). It shows Pasolini grappling with some of the knottiest themes of his films, and of most people's lives, namely the relationship of men and women, of child and parents, and of one man to himself. And it is at once a work of outrageous design and deep feeling, a semi-camp epic with genuine mythic resonance.The DVD is of very good quality, especially considering the film's age. However, the Pasolini Foundation in Rome, which controls the rights, insisted that the U.S. distributor release the DVD without any chapters (i.e., it's in one continuous track), to encourage people to watch the film in its entirety. Still, it's important to have this crucial part of Pasolini's filmography on DVD."
Hendrik Obsieger | 10/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The myth of Oedipus has been treated over and over again since antiquity and is best known from the Sophoclean version, which has ever since been considered the best existing. The title of the film reviewed, ?Oedipus Rex", alludes to the title of the Sophoclean play that is usually cited in its Latin translation. Obviously, Pasolini challenges his great predecessor, as is confirmed in his film by numerous allusions to Sophocles and his great ancient rival Euripides, who also treated the Oedipus-myth more than once.
Now while Sophocles is the most sublime author you can conceive, always concerned with the question ?how man should be" (as Aristotle cites him in his ?Poetics"), Pasolini is known better for anything than for tragic decorum. Therefore he does not choose the ?same weapons" as Sophocles, trying to overpower the excellence of his hero, but makes up a subtle picture of a vicious and fear-haunted soul.
His Oedipus cheats, is arrogant and blood-thirsty, traits of character, that had been deliberately excluded by Sophocles, but had been attributed to Oedipus in the ?Phoenissae" of Euripides. Pasolini thoroughly elaborates these traits e.g. in the scene at the fork in the road. His Oedipus shows himself even more keen than the Euripidean hero to kill the noble old man he meets there. Certain innovations further undermine the Sophoclean concept that Oedipus is the wisest man in the world. Nevertheless, the Pasolinian King Oedipus is a sympathetic character, for his profound emotions, his care for his people and his natural ways.
The story is known to us as well as it was in antique times, but our expectations are quite different because of Freud's famous theories concerning the Oedipus-complex. According to these expactations, Pasolini, creating an adequate framework, provides a certain oscillation between modern times and the myth in order to underline that essential characteristics of the human soul are involved. Thus, the excellent actors, especially Silvana Mangano and Franco Citti as Iocaste and Oedipus give an insight into the dephths of mankind.
Besides this brilliant charakter-studies and the convincing plot, this film can be enjoyed at first sight by anyone for the impressive photography of antique African sites, that form the stage for Pasolini's version. To appreciate it fully, it is recommendable to read the related tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides as mentioned above."
Sophocles would be pleased -- maybe.
Rayv | Noho, Ma | 02/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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 read in 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."