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The only movie made by Maria Callas, Medea nevertheless contains not a note of the great diva singing. And yet her presence is stunning, with a face (often seen in close-up) that cuts across the frame like a great phenomenon of nature. This raw, mostly wordless take on the Greek classic is a characteristic film from the influential Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini: intellectually sophisticated yet almost primitive in its feel. The weird, jagged locations and Pasolini's elliptical style contribute to the sense of violence already in the story, and the visual approach (realized by Gangs of New York production designer Dante Ferretti) brings in African masks and pagan rituals. If it's not quite satisfying as a treatment of the original Euripides play, it succeeds as a blunt experience in its own right. And tantalizingly suggests what Callas might have done had she opted for a movie career.

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KOC6902 Medea DVD (1969/Pier Paolo Pasolini) $29.95 $26.99