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 Medea: From Myth to the Screen 
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Stronger than lover's love is lover's hate. Incurable, in each, the wounds they make.”
― Euripides, Medea


The tragedy of Medea, the great sorceress from Greek mythology, was immortalized by Euripides in 431 BCE. Drawing on previous sources, he centered his play around her slow descent into a jealous madness, inspired by the betrayal of her husband Jason. Her revenge is two-fold when he leaves her for the princess Corinth: first she murders Jason’s new bride and then her own children Jason fathered.

The simplicity of the play is what sets it apart from other tragedies. There are only ever two characters on stage. Medea plays opposite to a string of characters, her power of cunning and manipulation central to the unfolding action. It is no surprise the play was appropriated by feminist groups, who admired her determination and power, while relating to Euripides empathetic portrayal of her emotional journey. Yet, Medea - consumed by hatred - is also the only character we know of in Greek myth to murder her kin willfully rather than in a temporary fit of madness or confusion. In an unprecedented turn, she is also left unpunished at the end of the play, which apparently riled audiences when it was first performed in Athens.

Cinematically, Medea has been adapted a number of times. The various adaptations of her story, whether as a part of the greater story of Jason or as a variation on her presence in other plays will be present. I have tried to assemble as many examples I can find, but if you know of something I am missing, please let me know.

This thread is inspired in part by Shieldmaiden’s thread MACBETH: What's done is done

Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963)
Medea (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1969)
Medea (Pia Epremian, 1969)
Mideia 70 (Michalis Papanikolaou, 1969)
A Dream of Passion (Jules Dassin, 1978)
Storia di Piera (Marco Ferreri, 1983)
Medea (Lars Von Trier, 1988)
Such is Life (Arturo Ripstein, 2000)
Médée (Don Kent, 2001)
Medee Materiau (Anatoli Vassiliev, 2002)
Medea (Theo Van Gogh, 2005)
Médée miracle (Tonino De Bernardi, 2007)

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Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:07 am
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Such a great idea!

More a passing mention than a proper adaptation, but I suggest Marco Ferreri's Storia di Piera:

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Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:52 am
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'I will include it Jedi <3

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Everything around me is evaporating. My whole life, my memories, my imagination and its contents, my personality - it's all evaporating. I continuously feel that I was someone else, that I felt something else, that I thought something else. What I'm attending here is a show with another set. And the show I'm attending is myself. Fernando Pessoa

Live. Laugh. Love. - Freddy Krueger


Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:53 am
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It does not have to be an adaptation, since Medea is as much a "featured" character in myth as she is a central one.

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Everything around me is evaporating. My whole life, my memories, my imagination and its contents, my personality - it's all evaporating. I continuously feel that I was someone else, that I felt something else, that I thought something else. What I'm attending here is a show with another set. And the show I'm attending is myself. Fernando Pessoa

Live. Laugh. Love. - Freddy Krueger


Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:54 am
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Post Re: Medea: From Myth to the Screen

I like this because I just learned a new thing


Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:01 am
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Ooh, fantastic!

Philosophe rouge wrote:
Medea (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1969)
And this is one I've been wanting to see for ages!

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Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:38 am
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Interesting, I had never heard of this until now.


Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:03 am
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Love the LvT (obvs), didnt know Ferreri's was this, and wanna see the Pasolini


Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:11 am
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This is fantastic. I've been wanting to finish my Euripides collection so it would be nice to read Medea and watch some films to go along with it. Mmmmmmm.

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Sun Nov 08, 2015 5:42 pm
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wigwam wrote:
Love the LvT (obvs), didnt know Ferreri's was this, and wanna see the Pasolini


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Medea | Pier Paolo Pasolini | 1969 | LOVED

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Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:25 pm
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