NYFF to open with Joel Coen’s ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’


Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth” starring Frances McDormand and Denzel Washington will have its world premiere on opening night of the New York Film Festival, organizers said Thursday. The 59th edition of the festival kicks off Sept. 24.

Washington plays the Scottish Lord and McDormand stars as the scheming Lady in Coen’s black and white adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. The official description said the film is, “A work of stark chiaroscuro and incantatory rage” that nods to both the visuals and aspect ratios of Laurence Olivier’s Shakespeare adaptations as well as Akira Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood” but added that “Coen’s tale of sound and fury is entirely his own.”

It also marks the first time Joel Coen, who has been married to McDormand since 1984, has directed alone without the involvement of his brother Ethan.

“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 Coen in a statement. “It’s a real privilege and a thrill to be opening the Festival this year with The Tragedy of. . .”

The premiere will be held at Alice Tully Hall. The film will be released later theatrically by A24, followed by a launch on Apple TV+.

“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.”

NYFF will run through Oct. 10 with in-person, outdoor and virtual screenings.

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