COMPETITION – “That Scottish play…” by Justin Kurzel

Film crew © Getty Images - P. Le Segretain

Following in the footsteps of Orson Welles (1948), Akira Kurosawa (Throne of Blood, 1957) and Roman Polanski (1971), Australian director Justin Kurzel now brings us his personal adaptation of Macbeth. The fascinating Shakespearian tragedy earns him his right of admittance to the 2015 Competition at Cannes, but ssshhh! don't pronounce the word "Macbeth" inside a theatre, it's sure to bring bad luck!

Film still © Jonathan Olley

Macbeth : – What is the night?
Lady Macbeth : – At odds with the morning, which is which. (Act III, Scene 4)

To preserve the language of Shakespeare and to follow as closely as possible the original text of 1606 while at the same time offering a modern reading of the play: such is the challenge that British producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman have set themselves, judging that it was time that a new generation of actors made this repertoire their own. With this end in mind, they have chosen two actors at the height of their powers, Marion Cotillard, winner of an Oscar in 2008 for La Vie en Rose, and Michael Fassbender, Steve McQueen's fetish actor first revealed in Hunger, which won the Caméra d’or at the Festival de Cannes in 2008. Together they play the husband and wife with blood on their hands, driven mad by greed and rapacity.

Shattered by the mediaeval battling between Scotland and Norway, Macbeth, the cousin of King Duncan, nevertheless returns to his wife's side in triumph. During his journey home, he witnesses the announcement of the triple prophesy that promises him the Scottish throne. Devoured by ambition, Lady Macbeth pushes him to delay no longer in imposing his destiny and claiming the crown for his own. 
It is also thanks to the relevance of the play's themes to contemporary reality that the director says that his adaptation takes on particular significance. "The story of 'Macbeth' is particularly devastating when we reflect on the economic climate of the last few years." Justin Kurzel, whose keen psychological insight was praised in Snowtown (La Semaine de la Critique, 2011), here gives us a faithful interpretation of the play, reinforced in cinematic terms by his careful research into the mediaeval period and its techniques of warfare, and by scenes shot entirely on location.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Vinca Van Eecke


Saturday 23 May / Grand Théâtre Lumière / 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
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