"An Orchid in the Land of Technology": Narrative and Representation in Lars von Trier's Medea


Applying Walter Benjamin's idea that the techniques of film may give a comprehensive view of unfathomable behavior, this paper demonstrates how Lars von Trier's made-for-television film supplements our understanding of the Medea plot first presented by Euripides. We demonstrate how von Trier applies the art of montage to present a dynamic picture of Medea that adds to our understanding of Euripides' themes concerning the painful split in personality that befalls a woman forced to live on the fringes of society. Of particular interest are the changes of emphasis, location, and ordering of events that von Trier made from his two most important sources, the Medea of Euripides and Carl Theodor Dreyer's unrealized scenario of Medea.