16mm, 32 min. in Post-Production
Cast: Joy Scimè, Vincenza Cirano, Rosa Alcalà, Mavis Wolcott, Anna Maria Campagnola, Mila Hess, Joseph Pecoraro, Jessica Pecoraro, Vincent G. Mistretta
The film is an interpretation of Franca Rame’s adaptation of Euripedes tragedy Medea.
Medea’s voice is presented as a self analytical monologue. The making of the film is exposed
through cinematic devices and is interwoven, as a reflexive journey of juxtapositions, throughout the filmmaker’s documentation of his relationship with his mother during the making of the film. The film presents the mother as subject, operator and performer due to the nature of the cinematic lens.
The following is Franca Rame’s “Medea” which inspired the film;
MEDEA by Franca Rame
Come over here! Hurry up! Move yourself! Medea’s locked herself in the house with the two kids! She’s ranting like someone possessed! She’s screaming her head off! She’s out of her mind! She won’t listen to reason! Her eyes are bulging out of her head as though she’d been bitten by a tarantula! She’s gone mad with jealousy … she can’t believe it … her old man Jason’s gone off with a younger woman. She’s got to get out of the house and leave the kids – but she just won’t face up to it. Medea just won’t see sense! You talk to her. You’re the oldest, you know her best … stop her being so stupid!’
OK, I’m the oldest, I’ll talk to her … I know her… I’ll talk some sense into her. Medea! Medea! Come to the door!
I’ve got to talk to you. Listen to me, girl, have a bit of sense will you. Stop being so selfish. You should be thinking, about your kids. lf Jason marries again, they’ll be much better off: bigger house, to live in, nicer clothes to wear, there’ll always be masses of food on the table: they’ll be living, in the lap of luxury … And they’ll be going up in the world … all the nobs and big wheels’ll be bowing and scraping to them … they might even get to live in the -‘ King’s Palace! You love your kids, don’t you Medea? Well then, you’ve got to make a sacrifice for the sake of the children! Be a good mother and not a hysterical woman!
Just face it – you’ve got to give in with good grace for the sake of your own flesh and blood.
‘No … no … no one’s made you look like a fool … no one’s insulted you.Your husband hasn’t got a bad word to say about you … he says you’re the best woman in the world … he says no one could have loved those children more than you have … or him, come to that … he says he’ll always think fondly of you …
‘What are you up to, Medea? Speak to me! Say something, for God’s sake. Open the door, Medea. Come out and talk to us … we’re all in the same boat as you … we’ve been through it too … cried our eyes out! You’re not the only one who’s been dumped by a husband – it’s happened to us too … we know what you’re going through.
‘Get out of the way!
Here she is! My God, she looks like a ghost! Her hands are white … she’s as pale as a sheet … you’d think she hadn’t a drop of blood left in her body …
‘Make some space, will you … let her breathe. ‘We’re listening.’Hold her up … she’s going to fall- down … sit down here, Medea …
‘Shut up, will you … she wants to say something … Medea’s going to speak.
‘She can’t speak! All that screaming’s made her lose her voice! Give her a glass of water, she’s parched. There, that’s it … Now, say what you want to say, Medea. Tell us about it … It’ll make you feel better … Get it off your chest .
‘Friends … my dear women friends .. what does my husband’s new girlfriend look like? I’ve only seen her once, and that was in the distance. I thought she looked … so beautiful so young …
‘You know I was fresh and beautiful once-. when I was sixteen and my husband first set eyes on me … I had long black hair and white skin … and my breasts were so firm, they used to practically burst out of my blouse … no wrinkles on my neck … no sagging jowls … and my stomach was so flat you couldn’t even see it under my dress … my hips were so-slender, my whole body was so fragile, when he took me in his arms he was always petrified he was going to snap me in two or hurt me … and when he made love to me, his hands’d shake – he’d be shaking all over, he was so terrified – even laying a finger on me seemed like blasphemy to him.’
‘We’ve all been through that, Medea. But it’s over and done with now. Gone … it’s just fate … women’s destiny: men trade us in for younger flesh, younger skin, younger breasts, voices, lips … it’s the law of nature … that’s how it’s been since the world began!’
‘What law are you talking about? Who dreamed up this law? Did all you women think it up? Write it down? Did you go out into the streets and get up on your soapbox and bang your drum and say “This is the law! This is Holy Writ!!”? It was men … men … men who dreamed it-up … they wrote it down, they signed and scaled it and said it came down from Heaven on tablets of stone… and then the King gave it his seal of approval… and they did it to use it against us – against women.’
‘No Medea, it’s the law of nature. It’s natural. Men get older slower than us. They ripen as they get older, we wither … we swell up and then we fade away … they get wiser and more mature. We lose our power and they grow more powerful … that’s the rule that makes the world go round.’
‘What a bunch of idiots you are! Listen, I understand it all so clearly now. Of all the clever things men have done to get one over on us, this is the cleverest. They’ve got you believing in their law… they’ve brainwashed you.. You repeat the lessons they teach you like parrots and then you think you’re happy… you grovel at their feet and yet you won’t rebel!’
‘Rebel? Listen, Medea, listen … Talking like this is only going to make the King angry … Why do you have to set yourself against his rule? Just calm down, Medea and ask him to forgive you and then he’ll leave you alone to live your life in peace.’
‘Live my life in peace? Live my life? What sort of life do you think I’ll have? All alone’? Shut up here in my house? Alone? Like a corpse? No voices … no laughter … no love of any kind … no children, no husband … they’re celebrating already – and they haven’t even buried me yet! And I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut for the sake of the children? That’s just blackmail … downright bloody blackmail!
‘Listen to me, my friends… The most awful thing just occurred to me…I can’t seem to get it out of my head… it’s pounding in my heart: I’ve got to kill my children. Oh sure, I know I’ll always be remembered as a wicked mother, a women who was driven out of her mind with jealousy… but it’s better to be remembered as a wild animal than forgotten like a pet nanny goat! Milk her, clip her, then throw her out. Send her to the market and sell her.. She won’t even make a single bleat in protest! I have to kill my sons.
‘Help! Get over here quickly! Medea’s gone off her head. She’s not talking like a mother! She’s ranting on like an old streetwalker … someone’s put a spell on her … she’s absolutely barking mad!’
No sisters, l, haven’t gone mad … I’ve thought about it over and over again; and over and over again I’ve stamped the idea out of my brain … I’ve bitten my hands, I’ve beaten my arms with stones till they bled … all to stop myself using them as weapons against my own children … At first I thought I’d commit suicide: I couldn’t bear the thought of being thrown out of my own home, banished from the country – even though I’m a foreigner and don’t really belong here – I couldn’t stand the thought of being carted away like some poxy old whore … Oh I know everyone despises me now – even you my dear friends – I’m a burden. Everyone’s embarrassed by a woman who’s surplus to requirements . . . especially when she kicks up a fuss. Even my kids would rather forget about me. And then when I’ve gone, everyone’ll forget I ever existed … I’ll be as invisible as if they’d never had &-mother at all … As if Medea had never been born … never been loved … never been taken into bed by a man, never been caressed, kissed or made love to. Medea was dead before she was born! And if that’s true, if I’m dead already, if everyone has killed and buried me, then I can’t kill myself over again, can I? I want to live! But I can’t live unless my children are dead … I’ve got to kill my own children … flesh of my flesh … blood of my blood … life of my life . . .’
‘Aargh! Run, you lot. Go and get some rope … we’ll have to tie the poor thing up! She’s completely demented … she’s possessed by some sort of devil – it’s making her say these terrible things!’
‘Get away from me! You lay one finger on me and I’ll stab you straight in the guts with this pitchfork!’
‘Run for it! Run! She’s gone berserk! Run for it! Run! . Stop! Wait! Jason’s coming … her husband’s coming … Get out of the way. He’ll know how to handle his woman … let him through … ‘Look Medea. You can calm down now … it’s your husband, Jason.’
‘Oh Jason, it’s too kind, of ” to leave your sweet little bride, your delicious rosebud, just to come and see me! Oh look at his open honest face coming towards me … but he’s walking a bit hesitantly … he looks a bit put out …
‘Sit -down … no it’s all right … I was only pretending to be crazy … I was only joking … I wanted to put the fear of God into this lot. I just felt like seeing them all run around, weeping and wailing, and then laughing, laughing till the tears ran down their cheeks! I’ve got nothing else to do to pass the time these days. If& OK I’m quite lucid now. The thing is, I’ve been going over and over all this in my mind, and I’ve finally come to a conclusion: I must have been completely stupid to think I could keep you all to myself … for ever. I just saw red … I was just being a typical brainless jealous woman … well you know what women are like-. . . weak and spiteful, quick-tempered-,. – we burst into tears at the slightest excuse … Say that you, forgive me Jason. I can’t help it, it’s just my own weak nature … You did the right thing, finding a new young bride … new bed, nice clean sheets … and you’ll have a whole new set of relatives – all very important people – and they’ll be my relatives too, because your family will be my family … That makes me happy … very happy … If you’ll forgive me, I’ll make all the arrangements for the wedding … I’ll get the marriage bed ready for you and scatter the sheets with rose petals … I’ll be better than a mother to your young bride … I’ll teach her everything she needs to know about love … If that’ll make you happy! … Now do you believe I’ve come to my senses?
‘And to think I called you a traitor! A man isn’t a traitor simply because he swaps one woman for another … A, woman ought to be happy just being a mother. After all, that’s the best reward she can possibly have. I can’t think what got into me, saying this law men have made, that lets you trade in one woman for another, was a kind of blackmail! What was I thinking of when I said this cage you’ve got us locked up in was an unholy insult? Whatever- put the thought into my head that you’d chained our children round our necks like millstones to keep us in our places just like you chain a hard wooden yoke round a cow’s neck to force her to stand docilely while she’s milked and mounted … That’s how crazy I was, Jason, I actually believed all that … and I still do!! And I’m going to smash this cage you’ve got me shut up in … I’m going to throw off the unbearable weight of the yoke you’ve laid on, my neck … I’m going to shatter your filthy blackmail once and for all!! You’ve used your laws to chain me to my children, and condemned me to a living death.
‘My friends, listen to me breathing … with one breath, with one deep breath I could breathe in all the air in the whole wide world.
‘My little boys have got to die, Jason-. They’ve got to die so that You can be crushed to a pulp – you and all these stinking laws you’ve invented. My friends, give me the weapon … Poor desperate Medea … plunge the knife into your children’s soft flesh … aaah, they’re bleeding it’s like sweet honey… they’re bleeding … oh my heart, forget these children are the flesh of my flesh … they’re bleeding … Don’t shudder when they scream: “Mother … have mercy … Mother!
‘And a terrible howl will echo round the world: “Monster … bitch – – – unnatural, cruel mother … she-devil!” And through my tears I’ll whisper: (Almost under her breath.) ‘Die, die, so your blood and bones can give birth to a new woman (At the top of her voice.) Die! You must give birth to a new w-o-o-ma-a-a-n!!,
The last syllable turns into a musical note which dies as the light fades.