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Comparisons of the Tragedy of Macbeth as Seen in Films Directed by Roman Polanksi’s and Michael Bogdanov

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Matthew Stone 10/17/02 Comparisons of the Tragedy of Macbeth as Seen in Films Directed by Roman Polanksi's and Michael Bogdanov Roman Polanksi's version of the tragic tail of Shakespeare's Macbeth is shown to us, the viewer in its most traditional way, having it been filmed and directed entirely in South Wales allowed us, the viewers to imagine what Shakespeare wanted his audience in his time period to feel. Roman Polanski uses both words and settings to enhance Shakespeare Message in which he understood it. While Michael Bogdanov uses Shakespeare's classic text in his production that is set in a timeless world in a raw, urban, industrial environment giving the film a surreal quality. The abstract setting puts this version of Macbeth alongside other more traditional versions of how Macbeth is usually filmed. Roman Polanksi's film, Macbeth opens with a long shot of the sky and the beach at dawn. All is quiet and still as the shot is held. You notice that the sky is red - a warning sign of danger, but it's a very beautiful image. The sky then gradually turns to a blue-grey, and a far more foreboding colour. The red bleeds out and disappears. ...read more.


This gives the idea of ambition, and an indication that daggers are going to be important later in the story. But at this stage it creates mystery, and intrigues the audience. A phial of blood is thrown on the buried things, and its vivid redness takes us back to the opening shot. The witches spit on the sand. The dialogue is spoken low-key, very quietly - these witches are in control and self-assured. The witches walk off slowly into the mist and soft, eerie music starts. As in Michael Bogdanov film Shakespeare's dialog is also kept the same, and they finish on the name Macbeth, so right from the start you know who the story is going to be about. Though instead of the buried ritual that the witches preformed in Polanksi's film in futuristic Bogdanov's production the withes open by them sitting and conducting conversation over a game of cards. Although both films use Shakespeare's Act One scene i as a starting point, the approaches are completely different. There's more concrete detail in the Polanski film that we can respond to in a variety of ways, while you know what effect Bogdanov is aiming for in his version. ...read more.


In the end you have two different versions, both of which are worth seeing. What they both show is that there are endless approaches to the play, and every director can find something different in the text. I found that the modern intake of the film played too much of a distraction through some parts of the scenes and I personally preferred having it been played in a traditional atmosphere as done by Roman Polanski. Though some ideas and views are clearly shown, for example the actor who played Lady Macbeth in Michael Bogdanov production of the film, her ambitions where clearly and cleverly shown. I felt that Bogdanov may have felt that because we live in a visual society kids and teenagers today are more visually sophisticated than at any previous time. On the other hand, they are less verbally-orientated: TV has replaced the book as the filler of children's imaginations. If we want Shakespeare to survive to be read and know through to the next decades we're going to have to use the techniques of the visual age to make him accessible. Though I felt that major improvement could have been done to improve the modern futuristic approach ...read more.

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