Made for Danish television, Lars von Trier's Medea belongs to an early, pre-Dogma phase of his career, in which this vastly talented and infinitely perverse filmmaker was just becoming acquainted with the visual possibilities of video. Using a script that (…) Dreyer adapted from Euripides (with the collaboration of Preben Thomsen) but never filmed, Mr. von Trier warms instantly to Medea, the original scorned woman whom hell hath no fury like. Abandoned by Jason (Udo Kier), the adventurer she helped with her black magic and violent will, Medea now turns her thoughts to revenge. Using a soft-focus, high-contrast photographic style that converts the smeary shortcomings of analog video into something approaching the fading tints and exaggerated grain of a too-often-duplicated silent film, Mr. von Trier places his heroine in a swampy, shifting world of burbling water and reedy, spiky plants, which Medea harvests to create her potions. No admirer of Mr. von Trier's work should miss this compelling rarity.”

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