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Ancient Greek Women in Film$
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Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678921

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678921.001.0001

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Rebel and Martyr: The Medea of Lars von Trier 1

Rebel and Martyr: The Medea of Lars von Trier 1

(p.117) 5 Rebel and Martyr: The Medea of Lars von Trier1
Ancient Greek Women in Film

Annette M. Baertschi

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Lars von Trier's early TV production Medea (1988) which was based on an unrealized script by renowned Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer. It first situates the film within von Trier's cinematographic work, highlighting in particular the parallels to his celebrated ‘Gold Heart’ and the ‘U-S-A — Land of Opportunities’ trilogies, while also showcasing his adherence to Dreyer's aesthetic principles. In the second half, the chapter offers a detailed analysis of von Trier's appropriation of the Medea story, paying special attention not only to his ‘improving’ additions and departures from both Euripides and Dreyer, but also to the specific montage technique used in the film. The chapter argues that von Trier combines a feminist approach with a Christian re-interpretation of the myth and presents Medea as the incarnation of the oppressed female who eventually liberates herself through a horrifying act of self-sacrifice and martyrdom.

Keywords:   Lars von Trier, Medea, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Euripides, montage technique, feminist approach, Christian re-interpretation, oppressed female, self-sacrifice, martyrdom

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