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A Dream of Passion Movie Review

mercouri dassin burstyn jules

Jules Dassin's contemporary vision of the Medea myth was dissolved by critics, who thought that Melina Mercouri overacted and the update itself was just plain silly. It isn't great, but it isn't the wretched mess they insisted it was upon release. A Dream of Passion actually serves up some pretty good acting by Mercouri, Ellen Burstyn, and Andreas Voutsinas (best known for being Christopher Hewett's partner in 1968's The Producers). Mercouri plays an actress playing Medea, Burstyn plays a tormented religious fanatic whose real-life actions parallel that of the tragic Medea. They share some nerve-shattering sequences and there are also some mesmerizing moments when Mercouri's character speaks directly to the camera. Eighteen years after taking the world by storm with her Oscar-nominated performance in Dassin's Never on Sunday, A Dream of Passion was very nearly the end of the line for Mercouri (1923–94), at least onscreen. By 1978, she was a major player in Greek politics. Burstyn, of course, went on to make many more films as one of America's leading actresses.

1978 (R) 105m/C GR SI Ellen Burstyn, Melina Mercouri, Andreas Voutsinas; D: Jules Dassin; W: Jules Dassin; C:Yorgos Arvanitis. VHS

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