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The Laius Complex
on 25 September 2011
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.