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Discuss the opening scenes of the Polanski and Welles' film versions of "Macbeth", considering their use of audio and visual techniques and their presentation of the witches. How do you personally respond to them?

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Introduction

Discuss the opening scenes of the Polanski and Welles' film versions of "Macbeth", considering their use of audio and visual techniques and their presentation of the witches. How do you personally respond to them? One of the most important aspects of a film is its opening scene. It is this that aims to engage us and it is the role of the director to make such scenes stick in the minds of their audience. How they do this is all down to style and technique. The two directors Polanski and Welles both have their own very established styles, as shown in their two versions of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The two versions of Macbeth share similarities, and yet they both have major differences. Both filmshowever use Shakespeare's original text. , but interpret the witches exceptionally differently. The Welles' adaptation, filmed in 1948 in black and white, takes a much more stereotypicalclich´┐Żd approach with to the three witches who are standing around a cauldron and smoke and flames appearing all over the place. . Polanski's version takes a very different approach, a lot of the introduction being very calm and quiet. In each version, the witches are interpreted differently and presents the witches as individuals. ...read more.

Middle

TBoth the films reflectversions do reflect the era in which they were made. Welles' Macbeth was filmed in 1948 and I think that its stereotypical approach represents the true feelings and beliefs about witches forreflects that era. Polanski's version, filmed in 1971, represents a broader view of the witches, which in turn represents people's broader thoughts and opinions on witches as time progresses. We also see the difference between technologies between the two eras. The newest version by Polanski utilises more technology, simply because over the years it has become more available and easier to operate. People in the 1970's would be a lot less likely to believe in witches than people in 1948. This could be for many reasons including no scientific proof. The structures of the two films is slightly similarhave similarities. Each version comprises of around 7seven sections. My personal view of the witches before and after the main part of each version changes quiteconsiderably a lot. In the Polanski version, I first perceived the witches as gentle beings, but after the burial scene in which we see the oldest witch handling a severed hand, blood being poured, and spitting on the floor, my impression of the witches has completely changed and I now assume they are immoral. ...read more.

Conclusion

After that, there is a sudden moment of darkness, as wind blows and mist in the sky moves. At this point, we cannot tell the witches apart, as their voices sound alike. At the end of the introduction is the climax to the sequence. The witches' hands are shaping a model, almost like a baby being born. However, this is no ordinary baby; it is covered with slime and it makes a screeching noise, as if it is evil. All is revealed at the end with the concluding words of the dialogue, "There to meet with, [pause] Macbeth". It becomes clear Macbeth is the witches' malevolent creation. Both these opening acts give us a thirst for more of the film, and they are an excellent way to begin Macbeth. Both films use Shakespeare's Act One Scene 1 as a starting point, but the approaches are completely different. Welles captivates the audience very quickly, while Polanski is more minimalist and subtle, but there is more detail in the Polanski film that the audience can respond to in a variety of ways. In Welles' version, we know what effects he is aiming for. I do not think that if the directors had stuck directly to the original text it would have been more interesting. Their alteration makes them more interesting. Both these opening acts give us a thirst for more of the film, and they are excellent ways to start Macbeth. Vinesh Patel 1 ...read more.

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