Oedipus Rex, by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Seeing and Not Seeing: The Nature of the Modern Rational Self

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Pasolini’s Oedipus

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s remarkable film version of the story of Oedipus, true to both Sophocles’s original drama and yet filled with more contemporary, Freudian meanings and undertones, is one of the great achievements of modern cinema: both disturbing and revelatory. For anyone interested in the Oedipus complex (which, let’s face it, is all of us), this film is a must see (unless of course, like Oedipus, you don’t want to see).  With a shocking – in the sense of arresting and very unexpected – final scene, shocking for its beauty and sudden shift of meaning.

It’s a remarkably modern-feeling – almost shamanistic (as perhaps the original Greek dramas were) – version of this story. It feels both very contemporary and very ancient – seemingly fittingly so, for such an archetypal theme. 

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