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4.2 out of 5 stars17
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 6 October 2012
I've just finished watching the film for the first time in twenty odd years and if anything it's better than I remember. It looks wonderfully filmy on this excellent new HD transfer from MoC. The imagery is quite stunning, although the hand-held widescreen camerawork may come as a surprise to those not familiar with Pasolini's production techniques. There's plenty of good filmic texture and I'd love to see it on a much larger screen.

So, a very worth while package form MoC. The booklet is packed with essays and interviews with the director but there's only a trailer extra on disc [which has been the case with their recent Pasolini DVD releases].

I've neither read nor seen the play, but we all have a sense of the general gist. However, Pasolini applies his own twist to the narrative by book-ending it with modern-day sequences. The birth of the child in the 1920's being an accepted allusion to Pasolini's own birth. I find the modern sequences both cinematically astonishing and very moving, but not everyone would agree judging by some of the old reviews. One calls it a B movie, what an idiot. Neither is the film ponderous.

With the book-ending device Pasolini is able to draw together the beginning and the end, closing the circle, which has been visibly describe by the panning shots of the tree tops as observed by the baby at the beginning. A fascinating personal approach to the story, with extraordinary costumes and North African landscapes, makes this a classic of auteur 60's cinema.
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on 22 November 2000
Pasolini presents us with an accurate but personal interpretation of this Ancient Greek legend which has been widely used in the development of psychoanalysis in recent years. Oedipus is a tragic hero, destined from the outset to kill his own father and sleep with his mother. There is an overwhelming sense of Fate as the hero rushes towards the fulfillment of his destiny.
The setting of the North African desert and the use of hundreds of ordinary people as extras lends great authenticity to the film.
The dialogue and the use of written extracts from the legend also lend authenticity and authority.
There are moments of drama and tension along with the depth of psychological study of the main characters which we expect from Pasolini.
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Long, slow, film put together with dusty artistry. In this depiction there are no quick shot, action clips, this is Italy not Hollywood. The film is slow paced and ponderous. It rests upon its beauty.

Oedipus is cast adrift by his mother and picked up a by poor family from the river who raise him as one of their own. He never sets out to kill his father, but his father has always set out to kill him. They eventually meet at a cross-roads as he journeys to find himself by visiting the oracle. He meets the old man at a cross roads and once again it is the older man who refuses to give way. A fight ensues and the older man is killed by the youth. Those in the old world knew what this meant, the death of the family tyrant and the emergence of the older boy as the family saviour. Freud deliberately mis interpreted the myth after his Seduction Theory was dismissed.

Unlike the Freudian account, each protagonist unknowingly confronts the other on a dirty road. It is in the melee Oedipus kills the antagonist. This is the crux of the play. Lauis, unlike the Fraud rework, is the man who holds the power. It is he who committed incest first at his brothers court. He was cursed by him to be killed by his first born. Laius is the paranoid man, fearful of his baby, he wants it killed. Jocasta instead sends it down the river where Oedipus is cared for by a poor farmer. It is Jocasta who saves her son and later reunites with him.

In other words this is about parental paranoia and mother love for children- both forms as it happens- a great taboo.

I showed it to a training group years ago. It produced mixed results from inner city adults, some were in tears from yawning, others in tears from the loss it induced. This marks the polarity of the film. It travels back to the original myth and shows how Fraud rewrote his Seduction Theory. This is an allegory of parental and institutional power, showing its impact on children's psychologies. Once you become aware of that basic formula, the film makes sense. If like the other reviewer you are waiting for a Fraudian redemption, then you will be sitting outside the locked bolted door until your dying breath.
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on 7 June 2014
A fine and original interpretation of this seminal play, reworked for the screen although the first audiences would have been large too! More mundane matter: arrived on time, safely protected and not at all expensive.
So worthwhile all round.
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on 10 April 2015
I like it as it is OK. The good structure of past and present - Oedipus is not villain or psychologically perverted man - no he is honest as it goes and represents something authentic . The location is rather curious but the thematically the Saharan desert Timbuktu is probably right choice - equivalent of Thebes Corinth at the time what we know nothing about. There is no Oedipus complex or such in this movie - just The Fate.
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on 1 October 2015
My 16 year old son is studying Oedipus Rex as part of his French baccalaureate and was advised to watch this. Since my 14 year old son is learning Italian I made them both watch it (it's in Italian with subtitles in English). I thought it was a good version of the story, but we were all a bit bemused by the style. Pasolini is obviously an aquired taste that I need to work on. The boys were less charitable.
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on 20 June 2016
Saw it first when a teenager in the sixties. Was impressed by the costumes and decor. Now I'm also impressed by the suggestion that human emotions and attitudes towards fate, desire and guilt haven't evolved since ancient times.
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on 8 May 2015
An execellent film, except that I do not understand why Pasolini started with the today's tragedy and ended with the today's one again.
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on 27 December 2014
Everything you would expect from a Pasolini film. The landscapes are truly awe inspiring.
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on 21 January 2015
Grim, stylised, distinctly odd in place, but visually superb and very interesting
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