Marking Joel Coen’s first film without his brother Ethan Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth brings together Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling, Ralph Ineson, and more in what will be a faithful retelling of Shakespeare’s iconic story—shot in black-and-white by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, who reteams with Coen from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Inside Llewyn Davis.
Film at Lincoln Center has announced that the Apple and A24 production is the Opening Night selection of the 59th New York Film Festival, making its World Premiere at the Alice Tully Hall on September 24.
Check out NYFF’s synopsis below.
A work of stark chiaroscuro and incantatory rage, Joel Coen’s boldly inventive visualization of The Scottish Play is an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition. In meticulously world-weary performances, a strikingly inward Denzel Washington is the man who would be king, and an effortlessly Machiavellian Frances McDormand is his Lady, a couple driven to political assassination—and deranged by guilt—after the cunning prognostications of a trio of “weird sisters” (a virtuoso physical inhabitation by Kathryn Hunter). Though it echoes the forbidding visual designs—and aspect ratios—of Laurence Olivier’s classic 1940s Shakespeare adaptations, as well as the bloody medieval madness of Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, Coen’s tale of sound and fury is entirely his own—and undoubtedly one for our moment, a frightening depiction of amoral political power-grabbing that, like its hero, ruthlessly barrels ahead into the inferno. An Apple/A24 release.
“The New York Film Festival is a place where I’ve been watching movies as an audience member and showing them as a filmmaker for almost 50 years,” said director Joel Coen. “It’s a real privilege and a thrill to be opening the Festival this year with The Tragedy of. . .”
“We can’t wait to welcome New York Film Festival audiences back to Lincoln Center this fall, and what a way to do that!” said Eugene Hernandez, Director of the New York Film Festival. “With Joel Coen, Frances McDormand, Denzel Washington, and our friends at Apple and A24 on Opening Night at Alice Tully Hall, we’re setting the stage for a momentous return to our roots. Last year was a deeply meaningful edition of NYFF; our Festival traveled to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and around the country via our Virtual Cinema. This year we’re back in our Upper West Side home, but you’ll also find us exploring new venues and ways to connect with moviegoers in person, outdoors, and online—stay tuned!”
“We’re proud to open the festival with a film that immediately joins the ranks of the great screen Shakespeares,” said Dennis Lim, Director of Programming for the New York Film Festival. “Working with brilliant collaborators, including Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in stunning form, Joel Coen has made an inspired and urgent interpretation of an eternally relevant classic, a moral thriller that speaks directly to our time.”
The 59th New York Film Festival takes place September 24 – October 10, 2021 with in-person, outdoor, and virtual screenings. Festival Passes are now on sale, with general public tickets going on sale on Tuesday, September 7.