Joel Cohen’s ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ to Close 65th BFI London Film Festival

23 Aug

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The British Film Institute have announced this year’s London Film Festival closing night gala will screen ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Joel Coen, from Apple Original Films and A24. The film will receive its European premiere on Sunday 17 October at LFF Gala venue the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, with Joel Coen expected to attend.

Written and directed by Joel Coen and produced by Joel Coen, Frances McDormand and Robert Graf, a bold and fierce adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic, a tale of murder, madness, ambition, and wrathful cunning.

“Shakespeare belongs to the world but comes from Britain,” says Coen. “Having borrowed your cultural patrimony, and having had the great good luck to work with a few of your most brilliant actors, I’m honoured to bring this movie to the London Film Festival for its European premiere.”

“We fell in love with Joel Coen’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play,” says Tricia Tuttle, BFILondon Film Festival Director. “Poised in a magical space between theatre and cinema, this is a stunning production. Bruno Delbonnel’s silvery monochrome photography captures the moody almost expressionist sets from designer Stefan Dechant and Carter Burwell has written a spell-casting score. And while the ensemble cast – including many UK talents – is thoroughly excellent, Frances McDormand and Denzel Washington mesmerise as the couple whose political ambition proved their fatal downfall. So many of us missed the big screen experience last year, and this a perfect celebration of this art form that’s built on ancient traditions of storytelling but with truly magical powers to convey intimacy and awesome scale and spectacle. It’s such a privilege to be closing the LFF with a film of this extraordinary calibre and welcoming Joel Coen and his collaborators to the festival.”

Apple Original Films and A24 publicised their partnership for the star studded adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in early May. The upcoming feature includes performances from Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Harry Melling, Brendan Gleeson and Kathryn Hunter shot entirely in black and white by the film’s cinematographer, Bruno Delbonnel.

In a historical first for the BFI London Film Festival, simultaneous preview screenings of ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ will also take place at LFF partner venues across the UK: BFI Southbank (London), Broadway Cinema (Nottingham), Chapter (Cardiff), Curzon Mayfair (London), Curzon Soho (London), Filmhouse (Edinburgh), Glasgow Film Theatre (Glasgow), HOME (Manchester), Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), ODEON Luxe West End (London), Prince Charles Cinema (London), Queen’s Film Theatre (Belfast), Showroom Cinema (Sheffield), Southbank Centre (London), Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle upon Tyne), Warwick Arts Centre (Coventry) and Watershed (Bristol).

Additionally, for the second year in a row, those who prefer to tune in from the comfort of their own home can join in the festivities with virtual premieres available through BFI Player. Unfortunatly whilst AirPlay is an option, BFI Player has yet to release a dedicated Apple TV app but can be accessed through Apple TV Channels. We expect this to change before this year’s festival proceedings begin in order to access the high profile virtual premiere.

The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 6 October to Sunday 17 October, 2021. The LFF programme launch will take place on Tuesday 7 September, 2021.

’The Tragedy of Macbeth’ is expected to join Apple TV+ before 2021 draws to a close.

Sigmund Judge
Sigmund is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of ScreenTimes where he began his Apple TV coverage in 2016. With an unwavering passion for Apple, storytelling and storytellers alike, he writes about Apple TV with a focus on the arts, development, tvOS, home theatre and accessibility. Sigmund also co-host’s Magic Rays of Light, a weekly podcast exploring the world of Apple TV and the many talents bringing our screens to life.