Ancient Theater and the Cinema Film Series – Phaedra
In connection with Ancient Theater and the Cinema (November 9, 2019–April 5, 2020), we are screening 3 films offering contrasting treatments of stories taken from ancient plays.
- Jules Dassin’s 1962 Phaedra is a retelling of Euripides’ Hippolytus starring Melina Mercouri (Phaedra) and a young Anthony Perkins.
- Electra, directed by Michael Cocayannis, was the first film in his Greek Tragedy trilogy. The film is set in ancient Greece and filmed on location. Irene Papas plays Electra.
- Federico Fellini’s Satyricon is a wild adaptation of Petronious’ Satyricon, with a lewd play embedded within it reminiscent of a Greek phlyax play. This is the only such treatment in the history of movies.
Phaedra is the fourth collaboration between Jules Dassin and future wife Melina Mercouri. It served as a starring vehicle for Mercouri after her worldwide hit Never on Sunday. The Greek legend probes the tragic consequences when a woman becomes unable to control her sexual obsession. In this film, Dassin and scriptwriter Margarita Lymberaki present Phaedra as a woman overwhelmed by passion for her stepson (played by a young Anthony Perkins). Set in Paris, London, and the island of Hydra, Phaedra takes an unflinching look at the opulent lifestyles of the shipping class. Viewers will be able to draw comparisons between characters and exploits involving the larger than life Onassis and Niarchos shipping clans.
Cost: $5, plus MFA admission
Photo credit: Lopert Pictures presents “Phaedra” (1962) starring Melina Mercouri and Anthony Perkins (Jorilie Melinafilm), directed and produced by Jules Dassin, film still.