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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MEDEA (1988)

That bad boy of Danish cinema, Lars von Trier, based this version of the Euripides play on an unrealized script by his great predecessor, the uncompromising Carl Dreyer. Recently, Trier has emphasized his role as political/cultural provocateur to such an extent that we may have forgotten his great & utterly natural filmmaking talents. This haunting work stands as a daunting corrective. It’s shot in a strange manner with a desaturated color scheme and a pointedly non-Hi-Def, almost distressed, video style,* but Trier's every shot choice perfectly serves the harrowing old tale. Rarely has Medea’s revenge on her unfaithful lover made more sense or come across so directly. *Has the FACETS DVD transfer (from a PAL format) emphasized the degraded visual look or is it intentional?

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