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Medea

"This film is based on a script by Carl T. Dreyer and Preben Thomsen-- after Euripides' drama MEDEA. Carl
T. Dreyer never realized his script.  This is not an attempt to make a "Dreyer" film,
but with due reverence for the material-- a personal interpretation
and homage to the master."
Lars von Trier's Medea (1988)

Points of Reflection

Lars von Trier's Medea (1988)

1. do you agree with film critics Susan Joseph and Marguerite Johnson that Von Trier's use of montage in this film--his combining disparate and reordered images--creates an experience for the audience "similar to the flow of time" (Orchid 14)?

2. how does Von Trier attempt to capture not only the actions but the internal, emotional states of his titular character?

3. does Von Trier render Medea's horrifying acts of violence in such a way that they seem like avoidable crimes for which she should be punished, or the inevitable consequences of actions outside her control?

4. is Medea, as characterized by Von Trier, an entity unified in person and action, or a woman divided against herself?

5. Von Trier has purposefully degraded both the sound and visual acuity of his film. What effect does this have on the film's tone? Its atmosphere?

6. why might Von Trier has shot so much of the film outside, instead of staging the film primarily indoors?

7. does Medea love Jason? (Provide yourself an operational definition of love when considering this question.)

8. does Medea emerge, finally, as a victim or a victor? What of Glauce?

9. why might Von Trier have chosen for the characters to wear primarily white and black?

10. do the specific types of violence perpetrated by the vengeful Medea seem appropriate to the tale? (In the original, she employs stabbing off stage instead of hanging, for instance.)


The Hunters in the Snow
"________" (_____)
oil on canvas
Salvador Dalí


Dr. Paul Marchbanks
pmarchba@calpoly.edu