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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Oedipus Rex aka Edipo Re [Blu-ray]


(Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1967)


Criterion's Pasolini 101 9 film Blu-ray boxset has Oedipus Rex and is reviewed HERE



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Arco Film

Video: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #39



Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:44:08.041

Disc Size: 30,812,223,506 bytes

Feature Size: 29,701,711,872 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 14

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 24th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1240 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1240 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



• Original Italian theatrical trailer
• 28-PAGE BOOKLET featuring vintage writing by Pasolini, excerpts from an interview with the director by Oswald Stack about the film, and rare archival imagery





Description: Three years after The Gospel According to Matthew, Pier Paolo Pasolini resumed his series of classical adaptations with a savage, highly personal take on Sophocles’ ancient Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex [Edipo Re]. As his first colour feature, Oedipus Rex makes brilliant use of wildly alternating Moroccan landscapes to transpose collective myth into a particular vision that is at once tender, sensual, and wholly unsparing.

The film is divided into three sections set in different eras. The opening takes place in 1920s Italy, and recounts a birth that echoes that of the director himself, the product of a beautiful bourgeoise’s affair with a military officer. The mid section depicts a time “outside of history” – it is here that the myth of Oedipus (portrayed by Franco Citti of Accattone and Coppola’s The Godfather), one of patricide and incest, plays out opposite the young man’s mother/lover (Silvana Mangano). An epilogue shot on the streets of present-day Bologna finds Oedipus playing his flute for a bustling citizenry.

With its kinetic handheld camerawork and strikingly primeval costumes, Pasolini’s film rattles its art-genre framework in the enduring quest to exorcise repressive emotional forces. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Oedipus Rex for the very first time on Blu-ray, in a Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) edition.



The Film:

Pasolini's working of the Sophocles tragedy, though not wholly successful, has its very definite strengths. Citti's Oedipus is intuitive and primitive rather than intellectual; the myth itself is treated as a dream set in the Moroccan desert in parenthesis between 'Oedipal' scenes in modern Bologna; and visually it's often astonishing, the harsh desert sunlight and dry buildings isolating the characters effectively.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guiide located HERE

This updated version of the Greek tragedy from Sophocles bears some slight resemblance to the original mythology. Edipo (Franco Citti) is abandoned by his father after the father receives an oracle telling him he will die at the hands of his own son. Raised by a childless couple, Edipo goes through a series of adventures before he marries his own mother. When they discover they are mother and son, Edipo blinds himself and his mother commits suicide.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Criterion's Pasolini 101 9 film Blu-ray boxset has Oedipus Rex and is reviewed HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Masters of Cinema Oedipus Rex doesn't look dissimilar to the BFI Blu-rays of Pasolini films (Arabian Nights, Medea, The Decameron). The 1080P image is represented via a dual-layered transfer with a high bitrate. Nature colors; earthy browns, greens etc. look strong. The image quality shows minor grain and looks a bit soft/waxy at times but there is some infrequent depth and generally looks.... pretty sweet in-motion. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp and I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio is a strong replication of the theatrical appearance. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel with a reasonable heavy film-like sense to it. Quite impressive.
















Audio :

Masters of Cinema offer an uncompressed DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo track at 1240 kbps with minimal depth but the film doesn't require any demonstrative aggression in the Soundstage. The track is 'minimalist' and mostly passive - and not bass-dependant. It sounds pretty clean to me - with dialogue audible and there are plenty of lengthy silent pauses. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Digitally we get the original Italian theatrical trailer but with the package is a 28-page booklet featuring vintage writing by Pasolini, excerpts from an interview with the director by Oswald Stack about the film, and rare archival imagery.



Henrik reviewed Oedipus Rex as part of the Pasolini Boxset Vol. 2 HERE - that is now unavailable and/or out-of-print. I didn't pick-it-up and, I believe, this 1080P was my first viewing.  The director's poetic visuals give a masterful take on Sophocles' classic. With the US Water Bearer Films DVD edition being so, reportedly, poor, this is another excellent choice for MoC to release on Blu-ray. It offers a rewarding presentation which I will definitely revisit again. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

August 17th, 2012


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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