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Roman Polanski’s Macbeth is a bloody masterpiece
Roman Polanski is a very talented man and director. His film titled “The tragedy of Macbeth” is another confirmation of his talent. This film was released in 1971 and was really successful. It’s been said that every great director should adapt Macbeth for the screen. Before Polanski, we can name such hitters like Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa. Polanski version is full of blood and violence. Macbeth was the first film of Polanski after the Manson Family murdered his wife Sharon Tate and unborn child. So, a lot of people say that because of this brutal murder Polanski made this film so bloody and gloomy.
Shakespeare’s play seems perfectly suited to Polanski’s sensibilities: it is a story of intrigue and shifting power relations, with cheating all around. Macbeth tells us a story about a loyal Scottish thane who hears a prophecy from the witches that he will become king. At first, he didn’t believe them but when their first prediction come true, he and Lady Macbeth, murder the king and take the throne. Actually, this is a story of rise and fall of Macbeth, a story of unbridled ambition, guilt, and madness.
Polanski wrote the screenplay in collaboration with Kenneth Tynan (a former critic). In this film, they decided to choose Macbeth’s side and share his point of view. Polanski didn’t want to make Macbeth a tragic figure. The director places us into the world of rain and mist. Even Macduff now is no longer the instrument of God's justice. He is just a man bent on workaday revenge. The movie ends with the simple fact that a job has been done: Macbeth got what was coming to him.
Polanski’s interesting innovation was to make Lady Macbeth younger and more attractive by casting in this role 26 years old Francesca Annis. This version of Lady Macbeth has more power over Macbeth. His ambition is largely in service of pleasing her and realizing his full potential in her eyes.
All of this makes Roman Polanski’s Macbeth more interesting than ordinary versions. We can say this is not an “interpretation” it an original film by the original director. It could be titled Polanski's Macbeth, just as we got "Fellini Satyricon."
In spite of all brutality, nudity, and blood in the film, Polanski brilliantly presents us Shakespeare’s ideas like dangers of ambition and the seductive nature of power. This story still stays interesting and important today, as it was many years ago.
Roman Polanski is a very talented man and director. His film titled “The tragedy of Macbeth” is another confirmation of his talent. This film was released in 1971 and was really successful. It’s been said that every great director should adapt Macbeth for the screen. Before Polanski, we can name such hitters like Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa. Polanski version is full of blood and violence.