Joel Coen’s Macbeth: Pure and Dark


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New York (AFP)

Without his brother Ethan, but with movie heavyweights Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, American director Joel Coen took on the challenge of adapting Macbeth, producing a clean film that stays true to Shakespeare’s great text.

With “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” which premiered Friday at the opening night of the 59th New York Film Festival, Coen follows in the footsteps of Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski and other greats in the cinema. who adapted the room to the screen.

“Macbeth is perhaps Shakespeare’s most cinematic play,” Dennis Lim, director of the festival’s programming, told AFP.

“I think there is something about the structure, the pace, the action, and the themes.”

Having won numerous awards, including Oscars for “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men”, the Coen brothers have worked in different genres, making adventure films, comedies and thrillers mixed with dark humor.

For this project, Joel Coen chose a work with a long history and layers of meaning.

– VHS tapes –

Shot in black and white, the play of light and shadow is omnipresent, especially on the face of Macbeth, who is expertly interpreted by Washington.

Coen cited the Danish cinema master of the 1920s and 1930s Carl Dreyer and German Expressionism as inspirations for his portrayal of Macbeth.

American director Joel Coen speaks at the head of the premiere of his film “The Tragedy of Macbeth” at the New York Film Festival Arturo Holmes GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

The film’s dialogues, which ring loudly to close Shakespeare’s text, are skillfully rendered by Oscar-winning Washington and McDormand.

“The first thing that got me hooked on wanting to be an actor for the rest of my life was the sleepwalking scene of the tragedy,” McDormand told reporters on Friday at the film’s premiere.

“And I did it when I was 14, so I’ve been practicing for about 50 years,” said the 64-year-old actress, married to Coen.

The film will also screen at the London Film Festival in October and then hit theaters for a limited time on December 25 before being released in January 2022 on the Apple TV + streaming platform.

When asked about this strategy, which some see as a disaster for the big screen, Coen said he and his brother owed their success in independent filmmaking to home video, reporting it to television.

“The reason we were able to build a career was because the studios at that time had an ancillary market that was a safety net for the riskier movies, which were VHS tapes or all of those video markets. domestic, which are basically television. “

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