greece on stage; italy at the movies

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Jason and Medea. Not too late to see it this weekend at Theater 9/12. Written by local playwright and friend Babs Lindsay. Nice retelling of the Medea story with a slight feminist slant. Jason, who’s the hero of the golden fleece story among other heroic tales, meets Medea, a sorcerer. Romance and adventure ensue. Jason turns out be something of a jerk, and Medea has some issues as well, to put it mildly. There’s an interesting “frame” around the presentation of Jason and Medea’s story that adds poignancy at the end. There’s also humor throughout, but don’t expect an ending that will send you away smiling and happy. They don’t call it Greek tragedy for nothing. If this is a love story it’s not any kind of love story that you want to happen to you.

Baaria. Saw this lengthy film by the same director who did Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore). We follow a boy growing to a man in Sicily, beginning in the 20s during Mussolini’s reign and extending maybe into the 70s. It’s an epic life story with almost fable-like overtones. The good: utterly beautiful cinema photography and sets. Part of an entire city was built in Tunisia as a stage for filming – possibly the most expensive film Italy has ever made. Gives a wonderful glimpse into Italian social and family life. The bad: Way too dull for its 150-minute length. Maybe the character’s involvement with the Communist Party would be more fascinating to Italians due to historical interest, but not to me. There’s a perplexing surrealistic ending in which the later era of the film circles back to the beginning.

Next up: Misanthrope at the Odd Duck.

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