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Oedipus Rex [Masters of Cinema] [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz/24 -bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 15
  • Run Time: 105 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment (Masters of Cinema)
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 24, 2012
  • RRP: £20.42

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1967 adaptation of the Sophocles tragedy Oedipus Rex is a rather loose interpretation of its source material, but true to Pasolini’s previous work, it is hardly a disappointing effort. In the very exercise of telling the story of Oedipus (Franco Citti; The Godfather; Accattone) the duality of love and hate, the Freudian overtones of incest and patricide, Pasolini explores the very meaning of myths and their impact on the modern psyche. Beginning in 1920s Italy, a married couple has a baby boy whose father is jealous of him. The boy is sent out into the desert to be killed, but his life is spared. The film shifts to an ancient time, and the boy is saved, adopted by two loving parents, who name him Edipo (Oedipus). But it is foretold that one day he will kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus sets out on a journey to Corinth where adventure awaits, and he kills the Sphinx and marries a Queen. The ending shifts to modern day Italy, the third part of the film. Pasolini, as per usual, uses the camera wisely capturing the beautiful landscapes of the Emilia-Romagna and Morocco to create a vast and haunting atmosphere within Oedipus Rex. Still, some issues do plague Oedipus Rex and that is the inconsistent flow brought on by Pasolini’s insistence on switching time periods and somewhat confusing. The acting from Citti and overall screenplay is also somewhat devoid of true human emotion; it feels more like a stifled, avant-garde series of vignettes set against beautiful backdrops always holding the viewer at arm’s length. Still, that this is a vision from Pasolini goes a long way to making Oedipus Rex a film that should be viewed. In lesser hands, an attempt like this would have fallen far flatter than Pasolini ever allowed his interpretation to.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

This is quite a fine looking transfer to Blu-ray with little source damage and a good amount of textural information from its layer of natural grain. Contrast is good and color reproduction has a natural appearance.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]


The monaural soundtrack is offered in Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit). While it doesn’t have much dynamic range and it is rather boxy and at times clips, especially when the dialogue gets very loud, it has intelligible dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

On-disc extras are slight, to say the least, but the booklet on offer provides a wellspring of writings and interviews by Pasolini himself, which are all compelling to read.

The supplements:

  • Original Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
  • DVD
  • Booklet: The booklet contains an interview with Pasolini on Oedipus Rex, an essay by Pasolini written during the making of the film and a poem written by Pasolini to his mother.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Oedipus Rex never reaches the level of The Gospel According to Matthew, but it is still more than a worthy film that should be added to your catalogue. Its beautiful visuals pained duality of love and hate, antiquity and modernity, make it rather interesting if not always successful. Thus Masters of Cinema series edition is also quite a strong release on Blu-ray.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B007Z0R0IS[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B007Z0R0IS[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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