- LULU / PANDORA'S BOX
- DAPHNIS AND CHLOE
- FEDRA
- THE FUGITIVE KIND
- THE TESTAMENT OF ORPHEUS
- PHAEDRA
- HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS
- YOUNG APHRODITES
- CONTEMPT
- PROMETHEUS FROM THE VISEVICE ISLAND
- SANDRA OF A THOUSAND DELIGHTS
- THE GOLDEN THING
- THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS
- EURIDICE BA 2037
- IPHIGENIA
- A DREAM OF PASSION
- CLASH OF THE TITANS
- THE YEARS OF THE BIG HEAT
- ENIOCHUS - THE CHARIOTEER
- ANTIGONE
- EDIPO ALCADE
- THAT'S LIFE
- BLADE RUNNER
- VERTIGO
- MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA
- ORPHEUS
- PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
- ULYSSES
- HERACLES AND THE QUEEN OF LYDIA
- BLACK ORPHEUS
- ANTIGONE
- ELECTRA
- JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
- GORGON
- OEDIPUS REX
- ILLIAC PASSION
- THE CANNIBALS
- EDEA
- NOTES FOR AN AFRICAN ORESTEIA
- FOR ELECTRA
- PROMETHEUS IN THE SECOND PERSON
- VOYAGE TO CYTHERA
- ULYSSES' GAZE
- MATRIX
- O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

FEDRA
Spain, 1956


Directed by: Manuel Mur Oti. Screenplay: Antonio Vic, Manuel Mur Oti from Seneca's Phaedra. Director of Photography: Manuel Berenger. Set Design: Gil Parrando, L. Perez Espinoza. Original music: Maestro Cases. Film editing: Antonio Gimeno. Cast: Emma Penella (Estrella), Enrique Diosdado (Don Juan), Vincente Parra (Fernando), Porfiria Sanchiz, Manuel de Juan, Rafael Calvo, Raul Cancio, Alfonso Rojas. Produced by Cesareo Gonzalez for Suevia Films. 98 min. Black and white.

In a fishermen's village somewhere in the Mediterranean Spain, a blind old man lives with his daughter Estrella on top of a rock, near the ruins of an ancient Greek temple. Estrella, a wild young woman, is lusted after by every man and therefore hated by the female community and especially Rosa, the owner of the only grocery store in the village. One day, Don Juan, a widowed captain, arrives with his fleet. Estrella swims to his ship, arousing everyone's sexual desire. Don Juan, charmed by Estrella, confesses his love to her, only to be rejected in a violent way. However, she visits his house and is fascinated by Don Juan's wealth. She later meets young Fernando, a wild-horse tamer, and overtly flirts with him, not knowing he is Don Juan's son. Fernando does not yield to her beauty and Estrella marries his father, without giving up her efforts to seduce the son. Her behaviour causes a stir in the village, especially after the night when Estrella is seen outside their house, running hysterically after Fernando in her night-gown. The young man asks his father's permission to leave. Estrella meets him in the barn and begs him to take her with him. Fernando whips her. Estrella speaks ill of him to Don Juan, who then sets out on a dangerous mission in the rough sea, taking his son aboard with him. Fernando is swept overboard by a huge wave before ever getting the chance to tell his father the truth. Estrella, chased by the enraged village women, reaches the edge of a cliff and falls into the sea. The following day, Don Juan finds his son's body near the shore. However, he does not manage to collect it as Estrella, having survived the fall, swims up to Fernando, puts her arms around him and they both disappear in the depths of the sea.

Moralising Undertones
by Babis Aktsoglou

Estrella-Fedra is the Spanish cousin of Susana, Bunuel's heroine who, according to the Mexican title of the film, had the demon in her (Susana, demonio y carne). They both represent the wild, animal dimension of eroticism, which terrifies the rationalistic and moralising tendencies of a puritan, male-dominated society; they both go to extremes in the erotic games they play with both father and son; they both get mercilessly whipped and they both meet a tragic end. What is more, the two heroines have something else in common, as far as direction is concerned: they are both parts of a film world governed by strict rules of censorship, where sexuality can only be implied. Oddly, this gives an intense sensual quality to both films. Bu_uel and Manuel Mur Oti inevitably resort to investing with sexual significance those parts of a woman's body that are allowed to be shown naked on screen, transforming them into festishes: legs, bust, shoulders, back, as well as the face itself are used as mediums for expressing a wild eroticism. There is not a more sensual scene than the one where Estrella, swimming like a siren in the sea, goes aboard Don Juan's ship, her soaked clothes cleaving to her body, or yet the scene of the night walk with Fernando on the beach, Estrella's body dripping with sweat. As for the whipping scene, this should be anthologised in any history of sadism on screen. After all, the interrelation of sex and violence is evident throughout the film, also illustrated in the scene where Estrella slaps Don Juan in the face in reaction to a simple I love you'. Manuel Mur Oti uses the ruins of an ancient Greek temple as the symbolic setting for his drama, in a rather far-fetched attempt to connect his story to the ancient myth of Phaedra and Hippolytus. Other than the folkloric figures of the village women, dressed in black alluding to the ancient dramatic choros, and Fernando/Hippolytus's love of horses, Manuel Mur Oti's Fedra has little in common with Seneca or ancient mythology. The film is a melodrama, featuring the exaggeration and rhetoric of this genre, as well as its moralising undertones, which, in a rather artificial way, turn the (melo)drama into a tragedy. However, the film has a certain charm, with some impressive scenes, like the one where Estrella, dressed in white, walks through the group of enraged village women dressed in black a scene much more powerful than the one in Dassin's Phaedra, although we cannot really say if Dassin was aware of Manuel Mur Oti's film [which was released in Greece under its original title, whereas the French added the explanatory subtitle: A real prostitute (Une vraie garce!)]